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Farmers and cattle producers reject open-pit mining in Patagonia

Published by MAC on 2004-10-05

Farmers and cattle producers reject open-pit mining in Patagonia

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Protests Viedma city, Río Negro in provinceAfter holding several meetings in Sierra Colorada and Los Menucos, Patagonia, farmers and cattle producers have decided to reject mining exploration and open pit gold operations using cyanide. They are supported by the organisaiton, Vecinos Autoconvocados, formed by neighbours in Jacobacci town, as well as other sections of society from a region where over twenty foreign mining companies have asked for one hundred thousand hectares for exploration.

"More than five centuries ago, they came in caravels to snatch gold; today they return, but in modern 4x4 trucks", declared Mapuche leader Daniel Collueque, in a demonsration against the mine. Verónica Monsutti, from Vecinos Autoconvocados, pointed out that "Big mining is exhausted in ten years, but contamination goes on for ever. All the mining towns of yesterday are today ghost towns".

The Catholic diocese of Bariloche (Río Negro), has disseminated a document which includes grave warnings of social and environmental risks derivaing from mining activities. The Church showed its position during the public debate about the Calcatreu gold project of the Canadian company, Aquiline Resources Ltd.. which is proposing largescale gold extraction: "We should be aware that natural resources cannot be used with impunity to meet private economic requirements".

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