MAC: Mines and Communities

Latin American Update

Published by MAC on 2006-05-11

Latin American Update

11th May 2006

Two community miners have been shot dead at Barrick's Pierina mine in Peru after agitating for higher wages.

The UK development charity, Cafod, launches a campaign against gold mining in Honduras. Communities affected by Glamis Gold, in both Honduras and Guatemala, address its Canadian shareholders on "the grave consequences your investments are having."

A subsidiary of Glamis has also come under heavy fire in Guatamala for alleged attempts to avoid taxation and possible bribery.

Grupo Mexico has been forced to close its San Martin mine, as trade unionists continue to paralyse much of Mexico's ectractive industry.

While Brazil is emerging as one of the world's most advanced aluminium recycling nations, it's all set to revive uranium enrichment -and even sell the product to other countries.

Although the Meridian project in Argentina remains stalled with little prospect of being revived, another junior company makes moves on the province of Esquel.


Barrick Gold Mining Conflict Leaves Two Dead in Perú

La Republica, Peru

7th May 2006

Thousands of campesinos from the 18 communities located in the high reaches of the Sechta mountains, location of the Barrick Gold Pierina Mines, protested May 6 to demand investigations and justice after the deaths of two of their members who were killed in a confrontation between police and community members. The incident took place Friday May 5, and left an additional twenty persons seriously injured, among them some policemen.

Joel Martel Castromonte, a 25 year-old agronomy student, and miner Guillermo Tolentino Abat, 42 years old, were shot to death by police, victims of the violence which began when hundreds of community members who work in the extraction of minerals for the mining company Barrick Gold, in the Cordillera Negra hills of Huaraz, gathered in Huallapampa to request an increase of salaries. When company officials denied their request, as a means of protest the community members blocked the access roads to the mines with stones and tree trunks. This action was met with tear gas bombs launched by a police patrol, to which the demonstrators responded by throwing stones.

Barrick Gold sent in a contingent of police.

According to police spokespersons, a total of 30 police agents are employed as security force by the mining company, which since yesterday had suspended operations until security was reestablished. Furthermore, they began negotiations with members of the small villages of Cucasca, Antauran, Mataquita, Atupa, Maraniyoc and Pacollón, in the district of Jancas, province of Huaraz, to try and negotiate the release of six police officers who - according to authorities - were capured and detained by community members during the violent confrontations.


Letter to Glamis Gold Ltd Investors and Shareholders

Glamis Gold Ltd Investors and Shareholders

Toronto, Canada

3rd May 2006

We, as inhabitants communities directly affected by Glamis Gold's mining activities in Honduras and Guatemala, write this letter to you to inform you of the grave consequences your investments are having.

Glamis Gold arrived in our communities promising development and progress. However, the experiences of our communities clearly demonstrate that the mining activity does not bring development neither to the local population, nor to the country.

Multinational companies such as Glamis Gold always state that they are respecting the laws of the countries in which they operate, but in Honduras and Guatemala they are operating within a corrupt system, profiting from systematic impunity and a lack of real democracy. Communities were never consulted and when we have organized our own consultation processes according to valid legal instruments and have expressed our rejection of mining activities, the government has responded with repression and militarization, defending the imposed mining projects.

In the Siria Valley in Honduras, the negative impacts of the San Martin mine are extensive. Environmental destruction, implicit in open pit mining, continues to damage the ecosystems in the region - forests, water sources, flora and fauna. Cyanide and heavy metal contamination of several water sources in the area has been confirmed, even by studies carried out by governmental institutions. There are communities that have drunk water with high concentrations of arsenic, mercury and lead for years, while other communities must travel to another municipality in order to obtain enough clean water for domestic use.

The water shortage caused by the enormous quantity of this vital resource required for the San Martin mine's operations has destroyed the Siria Valley's local economy, traditionally based on agriculture and cattle. In turn, this has caused a wave of immigration to the United States, separating and dividing families and community life.

Since the mine begun its operations, the local population has been living a health crisis in the region. Independent medical brigades have been documenting the ongoing rise in dermatological, respiratory, ophthalmologic, gastro-intestinal and other diseases. A significant percentage of the children and the adult population of the communities closest to the mine suffer from chronic illnesses, with no adequate diagnostic or treatment.

In the municipalities of Sipakapa and San Miguel Ixtahuacan, in San Marcos, Guatemala, where the Marlin mine operates, we know very well the problems that mining affected communities in Honduras are facing and as a result have continually expressed our worries about and opposition to mining activity. We are already experiencing serious social, cultural and spiritual impacts, graver still considering that in the affected region the vast majority of the population is indigenous. Glamis Gold has sown conflict and insecurity in our communities, tearing apart the social and cultural fabric of our Maya Sipakapense and Mam indigenous peoples.

We have already seen two indigenous people murdered in relation to the Marlin mine: Raul Castro Bocel by police bullets in Sololá and Álvaro Benigno Sánchez by a private security agent from the Golan Group, contracted by Glamis Gold in San Marcos. Furthermore, militarization and repression at the local level has become part of everyday life since the arrival of the mining company, creating tension and a lack of trust. Armed men intimidate our communities and harass the women and girls. Several cases of rape by mining company workers have occurred, but go unreported because of the pervasive climate of fear. The increased competition for water has also generated conflict.

In response to this very real situation that we face every day in our communities, we have attempted to make our voices heard by every means possible. As all doors have been closed in our faces, as affected communities we have been forced to resort to community-initiated decision-making processes and direct actions, such as those that have been taking place continually over the past two weeks in the Siria Valley in Honduras. The recent news that Honduran Glamis Gold subsidiary Entre Mares' property in the country has been mortgaged for a 30 million dollar loan from a bank in the Bahamas raises once again the threat that the company may simply declare bankruptcy in order to abandon the San Martin mine, without any mitigation or reparations and without fulfilling basic commitments, such as legally registering the land and houses of the community of San José de Palo Ralo, coerced into relocating in order to make way for the mine.

In the Siria Valley in Honduras, as affected communities and as the Siria Valley Regional Environmental Committee, we are demanding the immediate closure of the San Martin mine, along with integral reparations and mitigation. Even as you meet as shareholders, actions, investigations and media coverage continue in Honduras, concerning the devastating impacts of your investments.

In Sipakapa, Guatemala, we demand the respect of the results of our legitimate community consultation process. On June 18, 2005, based on municipal, national and international laws, the communities of Sipakapa and community authorities held consultations to determine whether the population wanted mining activity in their territory or not. In 11 of the 13 community sectors of Sipakapa, the people expressed their overwhelming rejection of mining activity. Thus, we demand that the Marlin mine be shut down immediately.

It is clearly impossible to explain the consequences of mining activity in the Siria Valley and San Marcos and our positions and demands regarding the San Martin and Marlin mines in such a short time and space. We feel that it is your responsibility as shareholders to inform yourselves of the devastating impacts of your investments in our communities and to take an appropriate course of action.

Thus, we invite you to a public presentation, discussion and documentary film screening on these issues tonight at 6pm at the University Club, 380 University Ave. We also urge you to request more information from Rights Action (, 416-654-2074) and to coordinate with us to arrange a visit to the Siria Valley and Sipakapa to meet with communities and to learn firsthand about the wide range of negative impacts of your investments.


Carlos Amador
El Porvenir, Francisco Morazan, Honduras

Juan Tema
Sipakapa, San Marcos, Guatemala

The world's riches and the poor: Dark side of the Gold Rush

A David-and-Goliath-style battle between Honduran villagers and an international conglomerate shows how the hunt for precious metal can threaten some of the world's most vulnerable people and their environment. Andrew Buncombe reports from Palo Ralo.

The Independent (UK)

11th May 2006

Despite his advancing years, Luis Arteaga remembers with a gleaming clarity the day he discovered gold in the hills above his village. He says he was led there by mysterious, hidden voices - spirit voices, he believes, of the indigenous Indians who also dug for the precious metal in the same hills long before the Spanish arrived.

Mr Arteaga and his friends made their discovery and staked their claim more than 25 years ago. But today, at the age of 95, rather than enjoying the wealth he found he lives in a small, ragged house on a parched patch of land beside a vast gold mine operated by an international corporation. He says that he has been robbed of his fortune and the mine has destroyed the village in which he spent almost all his life. He is currently suing the Honduran government and rues the day he struck gold.

"We were happy, super happy. We thought we were going to uncover riches and wealth," he said, sitting outside his house in the newly created village of Palo Ralo, his eyes sunk deep in tobacco-brown skin. "But if I knew what I know now I would have never have accepted [what has happened]."

Mr Arteaga is just one of many outspoken critics of the sprawling San Martin goldmine, operated by Glamis Gold, a mining company with headquarters in Nevada. Some locals say the company's behaviour is so exploitative they have likened it to a new form of "colonialism" while the Honduran public prosecutor has filed an action accusing the multinational of deforestation, pollution of streams and illegally altering the course of water-ways and roads.

Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez, who was last year tipped as a possible successor to Pope John Paul II, has organised opposition to the company. Meanwhile, internationally the company's activities have been seized on by campaigners who say the growing dispute in Honduras underlines the need for wide-ranging changes in the way mining leases are awarded and the need to ensure full consultation with local people.

The controversy also highlights how - with the world's most accessible gold reserves having already been taken - mining companies are now using highly destructive and toxic methods in the developing world to feed our enduring demand for this precious metal.

Such methods, which produce up to 30 tons of toxic waste for each ounce of gold produced, have been banned elsewhere.

"Gold is a symbol of wealth and power but for many people in developing countries gold mining has done little to reduce poverty," concludes a report due to be published this week by the Catholic charity Cafod. "Mining can generate revenue and create jobs. It can also cause lasting damage to communities and to the environment. Gold mining has also been closely linked to conflict - whether as a result of fighting over the control of precious natural resources or divisions within communities affected by mining."

Honduras is the western hemisphere's second poorest country and in rural areas such as the Siria Valley, two hours north of the capital, Tegucigalpa, people can work in the sun-scorched fields for as little as $2 (£1.07) a day. In 1998, when Glamis's wholly owned Honduran subsidiary, Entre Mares, was awarded a lease to operate a 118,000-hectare site at the end of the valley, there was talk of jobs and benefits for the local community. Some people in the area say they are pleased for the 200 or so jobs the mine provides, which typically pay $3 to $4.50 a day.

Those with jobs at the mine certainly say they are glad of the work. Rafael Arteaga, 29, also from Palo Ralo, has worked at the site since the mine opened and says he has suffered no hardship or health problems. He believes some of the mine's critics are jealous that they do not work there. "Economically we are better off," he said.

But others say the mine has done more hard than good. Local environmental activists say the mine has created huge problems, has taken up precious water resources and caused cyanide pollution in local streams as a result of its heap leeching techniques, in which diluted cyanide is sprayed over huge piles of quarried rock to separate the microscopic flecks of gold. They believe such pollution may be the cause of skin problems and hair loss suffered by local people.

That's an allegation that Joe Danni, the vice-president of Corporate Relations at Glamis disputes. "There was a significant shortage of water locally already. It's famine or feast in Honduras, mud and water or dust."

Campaigners have questioned whether the mine should be operating in a drought-prone area but Mr Danni argues that Glamis has improved the year-round supply of potable water to residents by drilling wells.

Renaldo Osugeuro Urufia is a former mayor of the nearby village of Pederal and a member of the Environmental Committee of the Siria Valley, a small grass-roots organisation of farmers and other locals. As mayor he was invited to visit a Glamis mine in California. He said he returned and told the villagers to reject the proposal for the operation in the valley. As it was, he says, they were never actually consulted. "I never agreed to it and we never agreed to the idea. We knew the consequences that would follow... There is much less water for the people and their animals, illnesses and diseases... We have never seen these before." Of the jobs and taxes the company pays, he added: "It seems ridiculous to us... not much in relation to what they take."

Glamis denies cyanide pollution and disputes campaigners' findings from local studies. Mr Danni said health problems such as skin problems and hair loss were the product of "bad diet".

Six years ago the committee took their complaints to the public prosecutor, Aldo Santos, accusing Glamis of a range of environmental crimes. Mr Santos and his team undertook a 10-month investigation into the accusations. "For us, the worst thing was that all the crimes being alleged by the committee were true," he said. Mr Santos filed suit against the company and sought arrest warrants for three officials. He says his evidence was extremely strong and yet the courts rejected the suit and refused to issue the warrants. He said the company launched a "propaganda" campaign in the media and turned to its powerful friends within the government. One former minister in particular was an outspoken defender of Glamis and Entre Mares, he added. "The influence they have been able to exercise on various government officials," he said.

Mr Santos says that since he filed the action there have been various attempts to remove him from his job. Meanwhile he has refiled his lawsuit against the company and launched fresh inquiries into alleged water pollution and illness - ordering blood samples from local residents. Asked what inspired him to continue his work, he dramatically turned in his seat, grabbed a fistful of the blue and white Honduran flag behind him and said: "My love for Honduras. I'm the lawyer for those people who don't have a lawyer."

The elderly Mr Arteaga and his son have recruited their own lawyer for a separate claim. Leonel de Jesus Avila said that according to a 1968 Honduran law, his client was owed 5 per cent of all profits from the San Martin mine as it was he and his three friends who had originally discovered the gold and staked claim.

He said that in 1998, in the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Mitch and with the help of a new mining code designed to attract foreign investment, Entre Mares was awarded the lease to San Martin and Mr Arteaga's claims were ignored. To add to the insult, the villagers claim they were coerced into agreeing to move from their homes and relocate to is now the new village of Palo Ralo. The company insist the move was done on the basis of "willing buyer, willing seller".


Uncovering the truth behind Montana's tax exemptions

Inforpress Centroamericana

5th May 2006

A recent article published by daily newspaper Siglo Veintiuno has led to a scandal over the exemptions granted by the Portillo administration to Montana Exploradora SA, part of the Glamis Gold Corporation. The present government claimed to be unaware of the exemptions until late 2005, when the Department of Energy and Mining called for the privileges granted to Montana to be revoked. The amount of taxation unpaid by Montana exceeds the social investments made by the mining company through the Sierra Madre Foundation by almost 90%.

These social investments came under strong criticism in the past. Meanwhile a member of Congress has spoken out against alleged bribes given by mining companies to several members of the Legislature as well as state employees. Added to this, he has outlined a number of PR strategies used by Montana to project a good corporate image, despite the fact that its activities have led to human rights violations. According to several analysts, the government has tried to play for time in order to obtain the approval for another mining project in Izabal, where links have been revealed between Montana's legal representatives and President Berger.

A Cover-up or a Lie?

On April 4, the daily newspaper Siglo Veintiuno, revealed that the mining company Montana Exploradora was exempt from paying customs duty, taxes on imports, income tax and VAT on machinery, equipment, spare parts and accessories.

Similar revelations came to light in September 2005 ,when FoodFirst Information and Action Network (FIAN) and MISEREOR published their report, "Open Air Mining: Human Rights Violations and Environmental Damage".

According to the report, when the deputy secretary for Energy and Mining, Jorge García, was asked how the government could allow Montana to pay a mere 1% in taxes, he replied that further taxation would be paid in the future. However, he failed to mention that Montana was exempt from taxation until 2008 and that the company would be allowed to use huge amounts of free water.

The previous administration, and in particular former vice-president Juan Francisco Reyes López, have been blamed for striking the deal with Montana, although Reyes López has denied any responsibility, arguing that such business did not fall within his remit.

The article published by Siglo Veintiuno suggested that the Department of Energy and Mining and the Department of Finance were in collusion to cover up the tax exemption granted to Montana.

Details of Montana's Tax Exemption. Between November and December 2005, Montana Exploradora generated US$100,000 in taxation, which was paid to the government and to the municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacán ( Siglo Veintiuno, 01/02/2006).

The Congressional Commission on Energy and Mining estimates that the mining company saved up to Q55 million (US$7 million) on income tax alone. According to vice minister Jorge García, Montana will save around US$5 million every year on taxation.

Following the revelations published by Siglo Veintiuno , President Berger said he did not agree with the tax exemptions granted to Montana but added that he would not revoke the agreement "because it would send a negative message to investors."

According to the FIAN and MISEREOR report, "the investors that have expressed an interest in Guatemala are non-processing industries with few possibilities of being integrated into the national economy. Therefore, non-renewable resources produce little revenue in the form of taxation and leave the country with a serious environmental problem".

Meanwhile Magalí Rey Rosa, of the environmental organization Colectivo Madre Selva , highlighted the lack of information regarding the environmental risks of the Marlin Project.

Media Silence. Opposition to the Marlin Project in San Marcos has provoked a violent response from the state while allegations have been made regarding both bribery of state officials as well as the creation of a network of pro- Montana supporters within the government.

The initiatives proposed by the High Commission have been used by the MEM to gain time and obtain a mining licence for Project Fenix in Izabal, to be carried out by the Guatemalan Nickel Co, part of Skye Resources.

According to congressman Alfredo de León, many members of Congress have received bribes from Montana. He added that the media has been conspicuously silent on the mining issue, which suggests that the government has tried to silence dissent.

Eduardo Villacorta Hadal, CEO of Glamis in Central America, is widely believed to be behind the campaign to silence the media on the mining issue.

It is also worth noting that TV news presenter Maritza Ruiz, is also Montana 's chief spin doctor and following the allegations published by Siglo Veintiuno , a newsreel depicting Montana in a favourable light (as a source of employment for people in the area) was broadcast on her news bulletin.

Vested Interests Behind the Granting of Montana's Licence

On April 17, the MEM granted a licence to the Guatemalan Nickel Company (CGN), part of Skye Resources. This was considered a key achievement for the mining company, which was thus able to take advantage of the time afforded while the High Commission tried to prevent mining licences from being granted. Congress, which is supposed to impose a moratorium on mining licences, has not yet expressed an opinion on the issue, which has been exploited by companies to obtain mining licences from the MEM.

Licences are being granted at a sensitive time. On the one hand, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has accepted a complaint lodged by the communities living in the mining area. According to Daniel Vogt, head of the El Estor Association for Development (AEPDI), based in the municipality of El Estor, Izabal, "the fact that a licence has been granted is surprising because residents in the area were never consulted. He added that "the licence was granted for an area of 248 square km but the Environmental Impact Study only included an area of 6.9 square km. We do not understand why this is the case and we are greatly concerned".

The law firm working for both mining companies: A.D. Sosa & Soto includes names such as high-profile lawyer Rodolfo Sosa de León, whose daughter Cristina Sosa is married to the president's son Óscar Berger Widmann. The latter has been accused of having a vested interested in Montana, although this has never been proven.

Furthermore, during the 90s, Sergio Monzón, head of the CGN, worked very closely with Sosa de León in the oil company Basic Resources, from which they both retired in 2001. One of the lawyers in the firm, Carlos Pellecer López, is CGN's and Skye's legal representative. Pellecer López has also worked with Óscar Berger Widmann. It is also worth pointing out that before President Berger came to power, he worked with Sosa de León at the law firm Berger, Sosa & Pemueller Associates.


Grupo Mexico Closes Copper and Zinc Mine as Strike Lingers

May 10 (Bloomberg) -- Grupo Mexico closed its San Martin copper and zinc mine after the company failed to end a strike that has halted production since March, spokesman Juan Rebolledo said in a television interview.

``It's impossible to even hope that this is going to be resolved,'' Rebolledo said today in an early-morning interview on TV Azteca. ``That's why we closed it.''

Lost production from San Martin and Grupo Mexico's La Cardidad mine have helped curb global copper supplies. The metal traded today at a record on the London Metal Exchange as some analysts forecast production this year will lag behind demand.

Mexican state governments have refused to break up strikes at company mines. Federal authorities and Mexico City-based Grupo Mexico have declared the protests illegal.

``The company expects the law be applied,'' said Xavier Garcia de Quevedo, Chief Operating Officer of the company's Southern Copper Corp. unit.

Grupo Mexico's Minera Mexico unit is producing 10 percent less because of strikes. Grupo Mexico is trying to meet customer demand by purchasing raw concentrates, a raw material, and refining it at plants with spare capacity, Garcia also said on TV Azteca.

``Given the scarcity of copper at the world level, it's affecting the productive chain,'' Garcia said.

Grupo Mexico may forego making investments while the strikes continue, Rebolledo said. The company had plans to invest more than $600 million in Mexico this year.

``When the conditions improve, then the investment will flow,'' Rebolledo said.

La Caridad, the company's second largest mine, employs 1,800 miners. San Martin employs more than 700, Garcia said.

Mining families had to move out of the neighborhood nearest San Martin on concern of ``insecurity'' in the area, Rebolledo said. Garcia said the union was using about 20 armed people to block the mine.


A New Gold Company Established in Esquel

Esquel, Chubut

3rd May 2006

Recently, mining company Patagonain Gold ( bought several mining properties located on RANGE ESQUEL and RANGE HUEMULES. Neighbours will protest in front of the offices of this new mining enterprise.

These projects are situated near the suspended mine of Canada's Meridian Gold, whose activity has been frustrated due to opposition by the immense majority of the population of the city of Esquel, in addition to rejection by all the communities in the Andean area of Chubut.

The gold field PATAGONIA GOLD is trying to exploit is located on the Cordón de Huemules, aproximately 25 kilometers to the west of Esquel. The area is just at the edge of the water division boundary with Lake Futalaufquen, in the Los Alerces National Park.

In addition, the local pipeline water company is developing a project to supply drinking water to the town of Trevelin, from the River Percey, although the mine plans to draw on the water sources of this very river.

Together with Meridian Gold, the new minig corporation will be rejected and repudiated "THEY SHALL HAVE TO GO AWAY FROM ESQUEL- THEY SHALL HAVE TO GO AWAY FROM CHUBUT - THEY SHALL HAVE TO GO AWAY FROM PATAGONIA!"


Alejandro Corbeletto:
Humberto Kadomoto:


Beaches, Streets Recycle Aluminum

PlanetArk, BRAZIL

10th May 2006

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - From Brazil's beaches to city streets and squares, men, women and children fill plastic sacks with empty drink cans.

Last year 96.2 percent of the aluminum beverage cans sold in Latin America's biggest country were recycled, up from 95.7 percent in 2004, making it the world's top voluntary can recycler for the fifth successive year.

"The big challenge now is to maintain this level of recycling. That would be a great achievement," Renault Castro, executive director of the Brazilian Association of Highly Recyclable Cans (ABRALATAS), told Reuters.

In a phone interview from Brasilia, he said it was increasingly difficult to raise the recycling ration because some cans are used for handicrafts and some are lost or irretrievable.

The association said that Brazil reused 127,600 tonnes of aluminum cans in 2005 -- equivalent to 9.4 billion cans during the year or 26 million cans a day.

Brazil beat countries with strict recycling legislation such as Denmark, Norway and Switzerland and was far ahead of the United States in percentage terms.

Castro said that one key factor was the fast growing support of Brazil's middle class.

Between 2000-2005, participation of private condominiums and clubs in the collection of cans rose to 24 percent from 10 percent. "People are becoming more aware," Castro said, referring to environmental and energy issues. "They also see it as an extra source of revenue."

Recycling cans is 95 percent more energy efficient than producing them from bauxite raw material. Recycling saved 1,800 GWh hour in 2005, enough energy to supply a city of 1 million people, such as Dallas, Texas, for a year.

Organizers of pop concerts now regard collection of empty drinks cans as a revenue earner and are negotiating collection rights, Castro said, adding that restaurant chains and bars also see used cans as a money spinner.

But cooperatives and collectors' associations remain the most important source, accounting for 52 percent of all cans gathered, up from 43 percent in 2000.

"Price is the main incentive for can collectors," Castro said, saying that the current rate is 3.30 reais per kilo - equivalent to 70 cans.

An estimated 160,000 people collect old cans and can earn more than the minimum monthly wage of 360 reais.

Story by Peter Blackburn

Brazil Officially Starts First Uranium Enrichment Facility


8th May 2006

Brazil has inaugurated its first uranium enrichment facility to produce the type of fuel for nuclear power plants that Iran is running into trouble for attempting to produce. There are strong suspicions that the objective of the Iranian nuclear program is to eventually build a bomb, but Brazil has managed to assure the international community its intentions are industrial and commercial, not military.

On Friday, Indústrias Nucleares do Brasil officially launched the first two centrifuges needed for uranium enrichment at a facility in Resende, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The centrifuges, which are already operating, have the capacity to produce two percent of the uranium needed to run Brazil's two nuclear power plants.

At the inauguration ceremony Brazilian Science and Technology Minister Sergio Rezende told the assembled officials and media of Brazil's commitment to the peaceful use of nuclear power.

Sergio Rezendes is Brazil's Minister of Science and Technology. (Photo courtesy Office of the minister) The Brazilian Constitution bans the military use of nuclear energy, and the country has signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. No objections to Brazil's uranium enrichment program have been heard from the United States.

In April 2004 the Brazilian government denied access for the IAEA inspectors to the Resende facility and refused to let IAEA inspectors see equipment in the plant. Citing a need to protect proprietary information the government had built walls around parts of the facility and draped covers over equipment.

By November 2004, the IAEA was able to reach an agreement in principle with the Brazilian government on a safeguards approach to verify the enrichment facilities in Brazil, at the Resende facility. This approach enables the IAEA to do credible inspections but at the same time addresses Brazil's need to shield proprietary designs inside the facility.

Built at a cost of US$172 million, the plant will be capable of enriching natural uranium to less than five percent uranium-235, an isotope needed to fuel power reactors. In order to make a bomb, natural uranium must be enriched to 95 percent uranium-235.

Carlos Freire Moreira, a director at Indústrias Nucleares do Brasil, said the Resende factory will be overseen by the Brazil-Argentina Nuclear Energy Application Agency. The technology for INB's Resende factory was developed by the Brazilian Navy with support from the National Institute of Nuclear Research.

The new facility is intended to make Brazil independent of enriched uranium imports that now cost the country US$16 million annually. To date, Brazilian uranium has been transported to Canada for conversion into hexafluoride gas, and then to the United Kingdom for enrichment before it returns to Brazil for fabrication into fuel elements.

In the first phase of operations, running from now until 2012, the factory will supply some 60 percent of the enriched uranium needed by the country's two nuclear power plants, Angra 1 and 2.

Around 2015, the factory is expected to be supplying 100 percent of Brazil's enriched uranium.

Minister Rezende said in March that Brazil has a plan to build seven nuclear plants over the next 15 years, two of them in the country's poorest region, the Northeast.

Rezende made the announcement in a March 7 interview with BBC Brazil, while he was in London with President Lula da Silva on a state visit.

Luís Hiroshi Sakamoto, the director of planning, management and environment at Eletronuclear, the company that operates the Angra 1 and 2 nuclear power plants, says that Brazil will need another nuclear power plant to meet demand for electricity in the near future.

Sakamoto told the Agencia Brasil government news agency in January that it will take US$1.8 billion and five years to complete the partly finished Angra 3, located next to the Angra 1 and 2 reactors.

Angra 3 was scheduled to be operating in 1988, but it was never completed although US$750 million has been spent on it. All three of Brazil's nuclear power plants are sited closely together at a beach resort, Angra dos Reis, on the coast of the state of Rio de Janeiro, 150 kilometers from the city of Rio de Janeiro. The uranium enrichment facility at Resende is located about 65 kilometers to the north.

Greenpeace calls Brazil's new uranium enrichment factory in Resende a step backwards. Guilherme Leonardi, the coordinator for nuclear energy at Greenpeace, says Brazil is investing in a technology that many countries are abandoning.

Leonardi disagrees with experts who say that nuclear energy is clean.

"Inevitably nuclear energy produces nuclear waste. And when you are dealing with nuclear energy there is always a risk of an accident at various points in the nuclear fuel cycle - in the processing of nuclear fuel, the generation of energy or in disposing of the nuclear waste," he says.

Leonardi goes on to say that many countries are rethinking the nuclear energy alternative. They are deciding against new nuclear power plants, which is what Greenpeace says Brazil should do.

But instead, the Brazilian government is planning to become an exporter of enriched uranium. Science and Technology Minister Rezende said last September that the country currently possesses the world's sixth large uranium reserves, but a more detailed study could put Brazil in third place.

"If we know how to enrich uranium, which we do, we may eventually even become exporters of enriched uranium," Rezende observed.

The minister said that, in order to sell enriched uranium on the international market, it would be necessary to invest in technology, to raise production, and alter the Constitution, which precludes uranium exports.


Señores Inversionistas y Accionistas de la Glamis Gold Ltd

Toronto, Canadá, el 3 de Mayo del 2006

Nosotros, como habitantes de comunidades directamente afectadas por las actividades mineras de la Glamis Gold en Honduras y Guatemala, les escribimos esta carta a Ustedes para informarles de las graves consecuencias que han estado provocando sus inversiones.

Llegó la Glamis Gold a nuestras comunidades prometiendo el desarrollo y el progreso, pero las experiencias de nuestras comunidades demuestran claramente que la actividad minera no trae desarrollo ni a la población local ni al nivel nacional.

Las empresas transnacionales como la Glamis Gold siempre aseguran que están respetando las leyes de los países donde operan, pero en Honduras y Guatemala están operando dentro de un sistema corrupto, beneficiándose de la impunidad sistemática y de una falta de democracia real. Las comunidades nunca fueron consultadas y cuando hemos organizado nuestros propios procesos de consulta, de acuerdo a la legislación interna y los convenios internacionales en plena vigencia, el gobierno ha respondido con la represión y la militarización, defendiendo los proyectos mineros impuestos.

En el Valle de Siria en Honduras, los impactos negativos de la mina San Martin son extensos. La destrucción ambiental, implícita en la minería a cielo abierto, sigue dañando los ecosistemas de la zona - los bosques, las fuentes de agua, la flora y la fauna. Se ha confirmado la contaminación con cianuro y metales pesados de varias fuentes de agua en la región, incluso en estudios realizados por instituciones gubernamentales. Hay comunidades donde por años los pobladores han tomado agua con altas concentraciones de arsénico, mercurio y plomo, mientras que otras comunidades tienen que viajar hasta otro municipio para obtener suficiente agua apta para el uso domestico.

La escasez de agua causada por la enorme cantidad de ese vital recurso que ocupa la mina San Martin ha destruido la economía local del Valle de Siria, tradicionalmente basada en la agricultura y ganadería. A la vez, esto ha provocado una ola de migración hacia los Estados Unidos, separando y dividiendo a las familias y a la vida comunitaria.

Desde que se iniciaron las operaciones mineras, la población local hemos estado viviendo una fuerte crisis de salud. Brigadas médicas independientes siguen documentando las crecientes incidencias de enfermedades dermatológicas, respiratorias, oftalmológicas, gasto-intestinales y otras. Un alto porcentaje de la población menor y adulta de las comunidades más cercanas a la mina sufre de estas enfermedades crónicas, sin tratamiento adecuado.

En los municipios de Sipakapa y San Miguel Ixtahuacán en San Marcos, Guatemala, donde opera la mina Marlin, conocemos muy bien la problemática que enfrentan las comunidades afectadas por la minería en Honduras y en parte por eso hemos manifestado constantemente nuestras preocupaciones y nuestra oposición a las actividades mineras. Estamos viviendo serios impactos sociales, culturales y espirituales, más grave aún considerando que la mayoría de la población en la región afectada es indígena. La Glamis Gold ha sembrado conflictos e inseguridad en nuestras comunidades, dañando el tejido social y cultural de nuestros pueblos indígenas Maya Sipakapense y Mam.

Ya han sido asesinados dos hombres indígenas en relación a la mina Marlin: Raúl Castro Bocel por balas de la policía en Sololá y Álvaro Benigno Sánchez por un agente de seguridad privada del Grupo Golan, contratado por la Glamis Gold en San Marcos. Además, al nivel local la militarización y la represión han vuelto parte de la vida cotidiana desde la llegada de la empresa minera, creando tensiones y una fuerte desconfianza. Hombres armados intimidan nuestras comunidades y a las mujeres y niñas. Han ocurrido varios casos de violación por parte de trabajadores de la minera, pero no se reportan por el clima de temor. También ha generado conflicto el aumento en la competencia por el agua.

Para responder a estas situaciones muy reales que vivimos cada día en nuestras comunidades, hemos intentado de hacer escuchar nuestras voces por todos los medios posibles. Al ver que todas las puertas se nos han cerrado, como comunidades afectadas nos hemos visto obligadas a tomar otras medidas, por ejemplo los procesos de consulta comunitaria y las acciones directas, como las acciones que llevan ya dos semanas en el Valle de Siria. La noticia que las propiedades de la Entre Mares, subsidiaria de la Glamis Gold en Honduras, están hipotecadas en un banco en la Bahamas por un préstamo de 30 millones de dólares nos preocupa enormemente. Plantea la posibilidad de que la empresa se declare en quiebra y abandone la zona sin mitigar ni indemnizar ni cumplir con algunos compromisos básicos, como titular las tierras y registrar las casa de la comunidad de San José de Palo Ralo, reubicada con el uso de la coerción para abrir el terreno para las operaciones mineras.

Como comunidades afectadas del Valle de Siria y como el Comité Regional Ambientalista del Valle de Siria, estamos exigiendo el cierre inmediato de la mina San Martin, y a la vez medidas de mitigación e indemnizaciones integrales. Incluso mientras que se reunen Ustedes como accionistas, las acciones directas, las investigaciones y la cobertura en los medios de comunicación siguen en Honduras, respecto a los impactos desastrosos de sus inversiones.

En Sipakapa, Guatemala, exigimos el respeto de los resultados de nuestro legítimo proceso de consulta comunitaria, basada en legislación municipal, nacional e internacional. El 18 de junio del año 2005, las comunidades de Sipakapa y nuestras autoridades comunales realizamos una consulta para determinar si el pueblo quería las actividades mineras en nuestro territorio o no. En 11 de las 13 aldeas de Sipakapa, el pueblo expresó su contundente rechazo de la minería. Por lo tanto, exigimos el cierre inmediato de la mina Marlin.

Obviamente es imposible en un espacio tan limitado exponer todas las consecuencias de la actividad minera en el Valle de Siria y en San Marcos y nuestras posiciones respecto a las minas San Martin y Marlin de la Glamis Gold. Es su responsabilidad como accionistas informarse de los impactos devastadores de sus inversiones en nuestras comunidades y tomar acciones oportunas al respecto.

Por ende, les invitamos a un evento esta noche para ver un documental y para una discusión pública sobre el tema hoy a las 6 de la tarde en la University Club, 380 University Ave. También les instamos a Ustedes a pedir más información a Derechos en Acción (, 416-654-2074) y a coordinar con nosotros para organizar una visita al Valle de Siria y a Sipakapa para conocer directamente a las comunidades afectadas y para aprender de primera mano sobre los extensos impactos negativos de sus inversiones.


Carlos Amador (El Porvenir, Francisco Morazan, Honduras)
Juan Tema (Sipakapa, San Marcos, Guatemala)

¿Qué hay detrás de las exenciones a Montana?

Inforpress Centroamericana -

Edición: 1653 - Publicado: 28/04/2006

La publicación de un artículo periodístico desató en días recientes la polémica sobre las exenciones que el gobierno de Alfonso Portillo otorgó a Montana Exploradora S.A., subsidiaria de Glamis Gold Corp. El actual gobierno dijo desconocer el hecho hasta finales de 2005 cuando el Ministerio de Energía y Minas solicitó la revocatoria de los privilegios concedidos a la minera. La cifra de lo no pagado supera en casi el 90% las inversiones de tipo social que la empresa hace a través de la Fundación Sierra Madre, que fueron cuestionadas en su momento. Un congresista denunció en este contexto, la compra de voluntades de parte de las empresas mineras a varios legisladores y funcionarios. Además, citó una serie de estrategias para que Montana pueda proyectar una imagen mediática noble, pese a que el proyecto ha provocado la violación de derechos humanos en el proceso de instalarse. Analistas observan que el gobierno buscó ganar tiempo para la aprobación de la licencia de explotación de otro proyecto minero en Izabal, en el que se han señalado conexiones entre el bufete de abogados de la empresa con el presidente Óscar Berger.


La noticia publicada el 4 de abril en el diario Siglo Veintiuno sobre cómo la empresa minera Montana Exploradora, se acogió a finales de 2003, al Decreto 29-89, Ley de Fomento y Desarrollo de Maquilas (LFDM), dejó en el aire el argumento de la minera sobre los beneficios al país vía impuestos. La exoneración obtenida los exime de pagar el total de los derechos arancelarios, impuestos de importación, el Impuesto Sobre la Renta (ISR) y el Impuesto al Valor Agregado (IVA), para la maquinaria, equipo, partes, componentes y accesorios.

No obstante, algunas publicaciones ya habían hecho referencia a ese dato con antelación. El informe Minería a Cielo Abierto, Violaciones de los Derechos Humanos y Destrucción Ambiental, publicado por FoodFirst Information and Action Network y MISEREOR en septiembre de 2005, indicaba que el gobierno insistía en exaltar los beneficios de la minería, pero no se pronunciaba sobre las exenciones otorgadas a Montana. En referencia al viceministro de Energía y Minas, Jorge García, en el documento se menciona que " Cuando se le preguntó cómo el Estado de Guatemala pudo aceptar el ridículo pago - comparándolo con los estándares internacionales - del 1% de regalías, por parte de Montana, sostuvo que vendrían más pagos por los impuestos generados por la minería. Sin embargo, no mencionó que se había concedido a Montana una exención de impuestos hasta el 2008, o que Montana utilizará enormes cantidades de agua sin tener que pagar.

Por ahora se ha señalado al anterior gobierno de tener la responsabilidad de esa negociación, que habría hecho 19 días antes de concluir su gestión. Sobre esto, se señaló a Juan Francisco Reyes López , ex vicepresidente del país, como autor de esos acuerdos de exención. Sin embargo, Reyes López dijo a Inforpress que desconocía los términos de esa negociación ya que en su calidad de vicemandatario no le correspondía conocer esos temas.

El porqué se dio a conocer la noticia en un diario de alta circulación en el contexto de las propuestas de reformas a la Ley de Minería. Por una parte, el desgaste que ha tenido el Ministerio de Energía y Minas (MEM), se sugiere como una de las causas.

En este sentido, limpiar la imagen del MEM y trasladar la carga al Ministerio de Economía, responsable de autorizar que Montana Exploradora se acogiera a la citada ley, se hizo una idea razonable. No obstante, la información de prensa dejó en claro que hay un pulso entre ambas carteras con un trasfondo oscuro.

"Revertir todos los beneficios fiscales de que goza la minera Montana Exploradora de Guatemala, pide el Ministerio de Energía y Minas al despacho de Economía, por considerar que las exoneraciones no son justificables. De acuerdo con Jorge García Chiu , viceministro de Energía y Minas, la petición se hizo formalmente a finales del año pasado, pero aún no tienen respuesta.

Marcio Cuevas, titular de la cartera de Economía, dice desconocer el requerimiento. «Ha de haber un procedimiento interno. Yo no tengo ningún documento en el despacho», asegura. (Siglo Veintiuno 4/4/06). Como bien solicitó el editorial del mismo diario de marras ese día, es algo que se debe aclarar. Ya bajo presión, la cartera de Economía publicó un comunicado en el que afirmó que la empresa cumplió con todos los requisitos legales para ampararse en la LFDM .

A pesar de ello, el diputado Alfredo de León , afirmó a Inforpress que hubo un engaño flagrante. La empresa realizó un seminario en un hotel caro, allí nos explicaron cómo manejaban ellos el tema de los impuestos, ahora vemos que nos engañaron públicamente y eso es penado por la ley dijo.


La producción de Montana Exploradora de noviembre a diciembre de 2005 generó unos US$100 mil en regalías, cantidad que fue entregada al gobierno y a la municipalidad de San Miguel Ixtahuacán ( Siglo Veintiuno 01/02/2006 ).

La Comisión de Energía y Minas del Congreso estima que sólo en concepto de ISR , la minera ahorró hasta Q55 millones. Según estimaciones del viceministro Jorge García , anualmente serán unos US$5 millones que Montana no pagaría de seguir amparada por la LFDM.

Arturo Melville , director de la Fundación Sierra Madre, que se dedica a la inversión social de parte de Montana, dijo a Inforpress que anualmente invierten US$500 mil, por lo que desde 2003 hasta 2005 habrían gastado US$1.5 millones en proyectos sociales. Esta cifra representa el 20.7% de lo que tendría que pagar Montana de ISR .

Luego de que la noticia se hizo pública, el presidente Óscar Berger dijo no estar de acuerdo con las exenciones otorgadas y dijo que buscaría dialogar con la empresa. Pero también dijo que no anularía lo dispuesto porque sería un mensaje negativo para los inversionistas.

A la fecha, los inversionistas más interesados han sido los que representan a industrias extractivas, que según el citado estudio crean enclaves con pocas actividades de procesamiento que puedan integrarse a la economía del país, por lo que los recursos no renovables aportan escasos recursos fiscales, y también por la contaminación ambiental que provocan.

Sobre esto expresó su preocupación Magalí Rey Rosa, de la organización Colectivo Madre Selva , quien afirma que existe un gran vacío de información y de capacidad sobre cómo se está monitoreando el tema ambiental alrededor del proyecto Marlin. Agrega que en este tema como en el de los impuestos, el gobierno y el MEM son los grandes aliados de Montana.

Un estudio reciente elaborado por la Superintendencia de Administración Tributaria revela que el Estado guatemalteco exonera más de lo que recauda. El citado estudio indica que la cifra supera los Q25 mil millones. De esta cifra, casi Q3 mil millones corresponden a exenciones bajo el régimen de la LDFM .


La oposición al proyecto minero Marlin en San Marcos, ha generado desde hechos violentos de parte del Estado, supuestos sobornos a funcionarios y legisladores, y hasta se cita una red de personas que trabajan a favor de la minera.

En ese contexto, las acciones planteadas por la Comisión de Alto Nivel habrían funcionado como un mecanismo aprovechado por el MEM para ganar tiempo y aprobar la licencia de explotación para el proyecto minero Fénix en Izabal de la Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel S.A., subsidiaria de Skye Resources (ver recuadro).

El diputado De León , al referirse al tema de los supuestos sobornos que algunas empresas otorgan a determinados congresistas, dijo: Cuando hemos planteado temas sobre fiscalización de empresas que están afectando al país. hay mucha plata de por medio. y así los callan, es triste, venden al país y eso sucede permanentemente, agregó De León.

Al referirse a las empresas mineras y el supuesto pago de sobornos, De León afirma que tienen gente comprada en el Congreso: hay gente que está mostrando oposición al tema minero por la temporada electoral, pero tienen el carro del año en la casa que estos mismos le dieron, es perverso, señaló. Además, el silencio de la mayoría de medios escritos y televisivos del país, son señas que analistas del tema minero sugieren, en función de lograr una buena imagen de la empresa ante la población.

En corrillos del Congreso de la República se habla de una persona de nombre Eduardo Villacorta Hadal, quien funge como director ejecutivo de Glamis en Centroamérica, quien estaría cabildeando en los medios para que no se publiquen notas desfavorables a Montana.

Se menciona también que la presentadora de un noticiero de la televisión local, Maritza Ruiz , labora como jefa de Relaciones Públicas de Montana. En el contexto de la publicación de Siglo Veintiuno, el citado noticiero transmitió el 27 de abril, una nota informativa que presenta a Montana como una empresa generadora de empleo y bienestar para las familias donde opera.

Sin duda, el proyecto Marlin se ha constituido como uno de los más controversiales en la historia reciente del país. Por ahora el apoyo gubernamental es patente y abierto. Los datos que no se publican en la prensa diaria dejan fuera la posibilidad de que se conozcan las conexiones familiares que altos funcionarios de gobierno tienen con este proyecto de oro y el de níquel en Izabal.

Los intereses detrás de una licencia

El 17 de abril, el MEM otorgó la licencia de explotación a la empresa Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel (CGN), subsidiaria de Skye Resources. Esto es visto como un logro para la minera, que estaría favorecido por el tiempo muerto que las discusiones de la Comisión de Alto Nivel permitió al buscar detener la concesión de licencias de explotación de minería metálica. El Congreso de la República , que debe dictaminar por una moratoria de autorización de licencias mineras, aún no se pronuncia al respecto, lo cual es un factor que se ha aprovechado desde hace varios meses para que el MEM apruebe los permisos mineros.

La licencia se otorga en una coyuntura difícil. Por una parte, la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT) admitió una denuncia de parte de las comunidades organizadas que viven en el área a explotar. Según Daniel Vogt, director de la Asociación Estoreña Para el Desarrollo Integral (AEPDI), con sede en el municipio de El Estor, Izabal, sorprende el otorgamiento de la licencia porque nunca hubo un proceso de consulta con la población.

Otro tema que preocupa grandemente es que la licencia se otorgó para un área de 248 kilómetros cuadrados, pero el Estudio de Impacto Ambiental sólo comprendió un área de 6.9 kilómetros cuadrados, es algo que no entendemos, agregó Vogt .

El factor en común es el bufete de abogados que trabaja para ambas empresas: A.D. Sosa & Soto, cuyo principal abogado, Rodolfo Sosa de León, está emparentado con el presidente a través de uno de sus hijos, el abogado Óscar Berger Widmann casado con Cristina Sosa. A Berger Widmann se le ha mencionado desde el año pasado como alguien con intereses en Montana Exploradora, aunque ese extremo no se ha comprobado. Además, el actual gerente de la CGN , el ingeniero petrolero Sergio Monzón, trabajó muy de cerca con Sosa de León en la década del 90 en la petrolera Basic Resources, de la cual ambos se retiraron en el 2001. Uno de los abogados del bufete, Carlos Rafael Pellecer López , es quien públicamente aparece como asesor legal de CGN y de Skye. Pellecer López también ha trabajado con Óscar Berger Widmann. Cabe recordar que Sosa de León fue socio del mandatario Berger en el bufete de abogados Berger, Sosa & Pemueller Asociados , previo a que este último lograra la presidencia de la República.


Cierra de manera indefinida la minera San Martín, en Zacatecas


Miércoles 10 de mayo de 2006

Zacatecas, Zac., 9 de mayo. Cierra de manera indefinida la mina San Martín, propiedad de la subsidiaria Industrial Minera México, del Grupo México, en el municipio de Sombrerete, ante la huelga que mantienen desde el pasado 28 de febrero 467 obreros de la sección 201 del Sindicato de Trabajadores Mineros, Metalúrgicos y Similares de México (STMMSM)

Rigoberto del Real Baena, gerente de la mina, informó que la empresa comenzó a liquidar, conforme a ley, a 35 trabajadores de confianza, al considerar que no hay soporte financiero para continuar pagándoles.

Los trámites, señaló el directivo de la empresa, se están llevando a nivel central. "Comenzamos a finiquitar a los trabajadores de confianza, ante este cierre indefinido que ordenó la empresa" dijo.

Del Real Baena mencionó que 81 trabajadores que laboraban en el área técnica serán reubicados en otras unidades propiedad de Minera México. Explicó que han comunicado a los mineros la decisión de los empresarios, de cerrar la fuente de trabajo.

Indicó que la postura de Minera México es de "civilidad", y aseguró que no solicitarán la intervención de las fuerzas policiacas para liberar el inmueble, esperando que los mineros desistan de su movimiento.

"Vamos a esperar que los mineros se vayan, no solicitaremos la presencia de policías para que los retiren", aclaró.

Manifestó que la parte patronal "no negociará" más con los mineros.

El directivo aseguró que en reiteradas ocasiones se trató de solucionar el conflicto, pero los mineros radicalizaron su postura exigiendo a la empresa el reconocimiento de Napoleón Gómez Urrutia como líder sindical, algo que "no estaba en nuestras manos".

Los mineros, por su parte, han decidido mantenerse en las instalaciones de la mina San Martín y consideran que tienen la capacidad para reactivar las labores en el yacimiento. El gerente de la mina, expresó que dicha posibilidad sería un acto ilegal que no permitirían, solicitando la presencia de las autoridades para que actúen en consecuencia si esto sucediera.

"Si cumplen la amenaza, tendremos que levantar la denuncia por despojo y que las autoridades actúen en consecuencia", señaló

Cartas marcadas

Ubicada en Sombrerete, Zacatecas, la mina San Martín es una de las más antiguas productoras de plata, cobre y zinc del país. Sus orígenes se remontan al siglo XVI y en ella laboran trabajadores adscritos a la Sección 201 del sindicato minero, encabezado por José de Jesús Jiménez como secretario general.

En un comunicado enviado a la Bolsa Mexicana de Valores, Grupo México, propietario de Industrial Minera México, informó a los inversionistas que analizaba el cierre de la mina San Martín, en paro de labores desde el pasado 28 de febrero, "por sus bajas reservas y la ilegalidad laboral que prevalece". Pronto convirtió el amago en decisión sobre esta fuente de trabajo medular para la población de Sombrerete.

Ahora, a través de un desplegado, el Grupo México, que reúne en su consejo de administración a ex funcionarios y empresarios relacionados con el poder público, se quejó de la falta de intervención de las autoridades de Zacatecas para poner fin a la huelga iniciada por los trabajadores, como consecuencia de la intervención gubernamental federal en la vida interna de su sindicato.

Esta es la segunda entidad federativa gobernada por el Partido de la Revolución Democrática que se ve directamente afectada por el conflicto minero, iniciado cuando la Secretaría del Trabajo, a cargo de Francisco Javier Salazar, desconoció a Napoleón Gómez Urrutia como dirigente nacional del sindicato y entregó su reconocimiento a un ex trabajador de nombre Elías Morales, quien dos años antes había sido expulsado de la organización gremia



Retoman el proyecto Huemules y afectará a varias localidades

Gacetilla de Prensa

En la marcha de mañana por el NO A LA MINA los vecinos se concentrarán frente a las oficinas de esta nueva minera. También reclamarán en tribunales para que se lleve a juicio oral y público a los directivos de Meridian Gold por continuar trabajando en el cerro y desobedecer el amparo ambiental que paralizó judicialmente el emprendimiento.

Esquel, 03/05/06. Los vecinos de esta ciudad chubutense se enfrentan a otro proyecto minero que pretende llegar a explotar oro y marcharán mañana hasta las oficinas de la nueva minera en la habitual movilización del NO A LA MINA.

Por otra parte, el recorrido de la marcha también incluirá los tribunales de Esquel donde reclamarán para que se lleve a juicio oral y público a los directivos de Meridian Gold[1] por continuar trabajando en el cerro desobedeciendo el amparo ambiental que paralizó judicialmente el emprendimiento, tal como se comprobó en la investigación desarrollada por la fiscalía.

La Patagonia será lo que sus habitantes decidan, pero no Patagonia gold

Recientemente la empresa con sede en Londres, Patagonia Gold[2], adquirió varias propiedades mineras ubicadas en los denominados Condones Esquel, Nahuel Pan y Rivadavia. Estos proyectos mineros de extracción de oro son próximos al frustrado yacimiento de la empresa canadiense Meridian Gold, quien tiene suspendidas sus actividades debido a la oposición de la población de Esquel y otras localidades de la zona cordillerana de Chubut.

El yacimiento "Huemules" [3] que pretende explotar Patagonia Gold a través de su subsidiaria Minera Huemules S.A., se ubica a 20 kilómetros al noroeste de Esquel, a 28 km al sur de Cholila y a 30 km al norte de Trevelin. Está situado en la divisoria de aguas con el lago Futalaufquen, en el Parque Nacional Los Alerces del cual dista apenas 7 km.

La proveedora local de agua potable (Coop16) está avanzando en un proyecto para la provisión de agua a la ciudad de Trevelin que se ubicará en el río Percey, y este proyecto minero se localiza en las nacientes de este mismo río. Además, la flamante red de canales de riego del valle 16 de Octubre donde está Trevelin, también toma el agua de este río, situaciones que seguramente generarán la oposición de los habitantes de esa ciudad cordillerana también.

De la mano del gobernador y el intendente

Desde el año 2003 rige en la provincia del Chubut la Ley 5001 que prohíbe la explotación minera a cielo abierto y la utilización de cianuro en minería. El yacimiento está dentro del ejido municipal de Esquel y la ciudad tiene una serie de ordenanzas que prohíben este tipo de actividad minera e incluso el uso y transporte de insumos y elementos para la misma.

A pesar de todo esto, el gobierno de Das Neves le renueva el permiso de exploración de Minera Huemules S.A. y el Intendente Williams le otorga a esta minera la habilitación comercial a su local.

Alejandro Corbeletto:
Humberto Kadomoto:

[1] El juez de Garantías, Jorge Criado, aceptó la probation dineraria que ofrecieron los directivos de la minera aceptando así su delito, pero la fiscalía ha apelado la decisión ante la Cámara Criminal local. El Código Penal contempla condenas de prisión para el delito de desobediencia a una orden judicial.

[2] El grupo Bemberg-Miguens posee el 45 % de las acciones de Patagonia Gold S.A., el resto está en manos de inversionistas de Gran Bretaña (ver y

Además, ese grupo era el propietario mayoritario de la cervecera Quilmes (Quinsa), tiene participación accionaria en el fondo de inversión BISA y junto a Rocca (Techint) y Schmidheiny (Fundación Avina) aportó capitales para la reconversión del pasivo del diario La Nación, y se especula con la posible capitalización de este préstamo lo que los colocaría como co-propietarios del diario. Sobre este tema ver

[3] Fue explorado y explotado parcialmente en los años '80 y '90 por otras empresas extrayendo mineral que se procesaba fuera de la provincia (7.700 onzas de oro, o sea 215,6 kg). Luego pasó a manos de Minera Huemules S.A. quienes hicieron más exploraciones entre 1998 y 2003. Desde fines del 2005 Minera Huemules pertenece totalmente a la inglesa Patagonia Gold.

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