MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Letters on Argentina, Chile and Australia to Barrick Gold at the 2005 AGM

Published by MAC on 2005-04-28


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Letters on Argentina, Chile and Australia to Barrick Gold at the 2005 AGM

Go away, Barrick!

[The photographs are of the following letter being delivered by activists Javier Rodriguez Pardo (Argentina) and Cesar Padilla (Chile) at the Barrick Latin America regional office (Santiago de Chile)]

Santiago, April 28, 2005

To Barrick Gold Corporation

Barrick protestsBarrick Gold's Annual General Meeting is taking place in Toronto, Canada, and the communities and organizations of Chile and Argentina published the following communication:

The communities of the Valley Huasco in Chile and of the province of San Juan in Argentina, and also those who have discovered the implications of the proposed mining project, oppose the exploitation of the Pascua-Lama and Veladero complex in the Andes mountain range, as envisaged by the Canadian company Barrick Gold.

The extractive mining method that will be applied over this fragile ecosystem (a perfect example of the watersheds with multiple glaciers that feed the communities and the crops of the towns below) is incompatible with the agricultural activity, the form of traditional life, the sustainable development and the future of the communities at both sides of the frontier.

This proposed project will use dangerous chemicals, especially cyanide and sulfuric acid, that generate toxic waste matter - including acids and heavy metals, including arsenic, and
will contaminate the land, the water, the air, and rivers.

We maintain that this mining does not contribute to local, regional and national development in a favorable way. It does not generate significant jobs and brings with it poverty, delinquency, diseases, drug addiction, alcoholism and prostitution.

The affected communities were not consulted in relation to the quality of life that this type of mining will impose.

The company is not in a position to take the necessary mitigating actions or reparations that they promise in the case of accidents, spills or any other type of contingency that can happen regularly in mining activities.

THEREFORE, WE WILL NOT PERMIT OUR COMMUNITIES TO BE LOOTED, THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR NATURE, CULTURE, HEALTH AND SOVEREIGNTY OF BOTH TOWNS.

WE DEMAND THE IMMEDIATE CESSATION OF THIS MINING ACTIVITY

WE DEMAND BARRICK TO GO AWAY !

Signing Organizations:

COORDINADORA DE DEFENSA DEL VALLE DEL HUASCO, CHILE
CONSEJO DE DEFENSA DEL VALLE DEL HUASCO, CHILE
PASTORAL SALVAGUADA DE LA CREACIÓN, ALTO DEL CARMEN, CHILE
ASOCIACIONES DE AGRICULTORES Y REGANTES DEL VALLE DEL HUASCO, CHILE
ASOCIACIÓN GREMIAL DE TURISMO DE VALLENAR, CHILE
COMITÉ DE APOYO A LA DEFENSA DEL VALLE DEL HUASCO, CHILE
OBSERVATORIO LATINOAMERICANO DE CONFLICTOS AMBIENTALES, CHILE
CODEFF, AMIGOS DE LA TIERRA-CHILE, JENIA COFRE
AUTOCONVOCADOS DE SAN JUAN, ARGENTINA, ARGENTINA
RED NACIONAL DE ACCIÓN ECOLOGISTA DE ARGENTINA, RENACE
FEDERACION DE VIÑATEROS Y PRODUCTORES AGROPECUARIOS DE SAN JUAN, ARGENTINA
ASAMBLEA DE AUTOCONVOCADOS DE ESQUEL, CHUBUT, ARGENTINA
SOCIEDAD ECOLÓGICA REGIONAL EL BOLSÓN, ARGENTINA


Fuera Barrick Gold!

Santiago, 28 de abril de 2005
Señores
Barrick Gold Corporation
Presente

Barrick protestCon motivo de la realización de la asamblea anual de Barrick Gold Corporation en Toronto, Canadá, las comunidades y organizaciones de Chile y Argentina emitimos el siguiente comunicado:

Las comunidades del Valle del Huasco en Chile y de la provincia de San Juan en Argentina, como así también quienes hemos tomado conocimiento de la intervención minera fronteriza, nos oponemos a la explotación del complejo Pascua-Lama y Veladero que la empresa canadiense Barrick Gold lleva a cabo en la Cordillera de Los Andes.

El método extractivo minero a aplicarse en este frágil ecosistema, paradigma de las altas cuencas hídricas, naciente de las aguas donde emergen múltiples glaciares que alimentan comunidades y cultivos pueblos abajo, es incompatible con la actividad agropecuaria, forma de vida tradicional, desarrollo sustentable y futuro de las comunidades en ambos lados de la frontera.

El proyecto al que hacemos referencia usa compuestos químicos peligrosos, entre los que se destacan el cianuro y el ácido sulfúrico, que generan desechos tóxicos, ácidos, metales pesados, libera el abundante arsénico encapsulado en la cordillera y contamina la tierra, las aguas, el aire, los acuíferos, bofedales y ríos.

Asimismo sostenemos que esta minería no aporta favorablemente al desarrollo local, regional y nacional. No genera empleos significativos y trae consigo pobreza, delincuencia, enfermedades, drogadicción, alcoholismo y prostitución.

Las comunidades tampoco fueron consultadas respecto a la calidad de vida que impone esta minería.

La empresa no está en condiciones de asegurar y materializar las acciones de mitigación o reparación que promete en caso de accidentes, filtraciones, vertidos u otro tipo de contingencia como sucede regularmente con las actividades mineras.

POR TANTO, NO PERMITIREMOS EL SAQUEO DE NUESTRAS COMUNIDADES, LA DESTRUCCION DE NUESTRA NATURALEZA, CULTURA, SALUD Y SOBERANIA DE AMBOS PUEBLOS

EXIGIMOS EL CESE INMEDIATO DE SU ACTIVIDAD MINERA

EXIGIMOS ¡QUE SE VAYA BARRICK!

Organizaciones Firmantes:

COORDINADORA DE DEFENSA DEL VALLE DEL HUASCO, CHILE
CONSEJO DE DEFENSA DEL VALLE DEL HUASCO, CHILE
PASTORAL SALVAGUADA DE LA CREACIÓN, ALTO DEL CARMEN, CHILE
ASOCIACIONES DE AGRICULTORES Y REGANTES DEL VALLE DEL HUASCO, CHILE
ASOCIACIÓN GREMIAL DE TURISMO DE VALLENAR, CHILE
COMITÉ DE APOYO A LA DEFENSA DEL VALLE DEL HUASCO, CHILE
OBSERVATORIO LATINOAMERICANO DE CONFLICTOS AMBIENTALES, CHILE
CODEFF, AMIGOS DE LA TIERRA-CHILE, JENIA JOFRE C
AUTOCONVOCADOS DE SAN JUAN, ARGENTINA
RED NACIONAL DE ACCIÓN ECOLOGISTA DE ARGENTINA, RENACE
FEDERACION DE VIÑATEROS Y PRODUCTORES AGROPECUARIOS DE SAN JUAN, ARGENTINA
ASAMBLEA DE AUTOCONVOCADOS DE ESQUEL, CHUBUT, ARGENTINA
SOCIEDAD ECOLÓGICA REGIONAL EL BOLSÓN, ARGENTINA


"Don't desecrate our dreaming site,
Don't mine our sacred site.
I have fought Barrick in the courts for over two years.
Now it is time for us all to work together
To stop this disaster waiting to happen"

Traditional Owner, Neville 'Chappy' Williams (May 2004)

Lake Cowal is an ephemeral lake situated 47km north-east of West Wylong in central western New South Wales, Australia. The lake is included in the Australian register of the National Estate and in it's directory of important wetlands.

Transnational mining corporation, Barrick Gold, have a mining lease encompassing approx 2650 hectares of this integral part of Australia's Murray-Darling basin.

The mining lease includes two cyanide tailing dams and an open-pit, 1km wide and 325 meters deep, to produce an estimated 2.7 million ounces of gold over a 13-year operation plan.

Lake Cowal is the sacred heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation, part of the central ceremonial ground of one of the largest indigenous nations of Australia. As the oldest peoples on earth this region is rich with ancient artifacts and sacred sites.

Barrick Gold and their predecessors have not properly consulted with many aboriginal Traditional Owners from the region. This has created division among local community many of whom have declared their opposition to the Lake Cowal gold mine project.

Listed under two International Migratory Birds Agreement (CAMBA & JAMBA) Lake Cowal is home to many endangered flora and fauna species. 277 species of birds have been recorded or are considered as possible occurrences in the Lake Cowal Region.

Barrick have been granted a license to take 17 million litres of water a day in a region where a moratorium on new water licenses has been enforced because of the severity of drought.

A substantial amount of water will be used in the cyanide tailings damns turning precious water into a deadly poison that threatens significant ecosystems, flora and fauna, and communities along major waterways that run through three states of Australia: New South Wales; Victoria and South Australia.

AS A WORLDWIDE COMMODITY WATER IS MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD

TRADITIONAL OWNERS AND THE COALITION TO PROTECT LAKE COWAL SERVED THE 'NOTICE TO QUIT' FOR BARRICK GOLD TO END ALL OPERATIONS AT LAKE COWAL. THIS NOTICE WAS SERVED AT THE GATES OF THE LAKE COWAL MINE, AUSTRALIA ON 25 OCTOBER 2004 AND AT BARRICK HEADQUARTERS IN TORONTO, CANADA ON 26 NOVEMBER 2004.

COMMUNITIES ACROSS AUSTRALIA ARE BANNING TOGETHER TO RAISE A VOICE OF OPPOSITION AGAINST BARRICK GOLD

END THE CYANIDE GENOCIDE PROTECT LAKE COWAL
www.savelakecowal.org

SIGNED: THE COALITION TO PROTECT LAKE COWAL

Mooka/Kalara Traditional Owners Council Inc.
Friends of the Earth - Australia
Melbourne Friends of Lake Cowal Collective
Nature Conservation Council (Sydney)
Central West Branch TWS (Orange)
Mineral Policy Institute (Sydney)
The Greens NSW (Sydney)
Rainforest Information Centre (Lismore)
Central West Environment Council
Nimbin Environment Centre (Nimbin)
Peacebus
Clarence Environment Centre (Grafton)
Birds Australia
Mission Beach Environmental Management Group Inc. (Queensland)
Big Scrub (Lismore)
The Coalition to End Open Cut Gold Mining - Victoria
SOS Bergama Collective, (Sydney, NSW)
Humane Society International - Australia
Timbarra Café/Timbarra Action Group (Nimbin)
Mudgee District Environment Group (Mudgee, NSW)
Albury Wodonga Environment Centre
Western Region Environment Centre (Melbourne)

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