MAC: Mines and Communities

Declaration of Andalgalá

Published by MAC on 2005-08-14

Declaration of Andalgalá

August 14, 2005

III Meeting of Communities Affected by Mining in Argentina

Declaration of Andalgal√°Almost ten years after the start of the first large-scale mining operation in our country -- Bajo La Alumbrera mine, in the province of Catamarca -- the Network of Communitites Affected by Mining in Argentina declares that:

I) We unanimously reaffirm the declarations made in November 2003 in Buenos Aires and in April of 2004 in Tafí del Valle, Tucumán.

II) Big Mining means nothing other than total and unrestricted handing over of our mineral resources, our lands, and impacts upon, and contamination of our freshwater reserves and the ecosystems of all our national territory.

III) Every mining operation is located in river headwaters or freshwater springs: glaciers, wetlands, vegas and mallines (high desert oases), springs, creeks, rivers, lakes and lagoons, where the inhabitants directly use the water for their essential activities. Big Mining consumes millions of liters of water every day and returns it contaminated to our environment.

IV) These activityies are only possible because they are legitimated and rewarded by a colonialist legal framework, which establishes a ruthless set of benefits and tax breaks for mining companies, which discriminate against the productive, sustainable economic activities really driving our regional economies.

V) Big Mining is incompatible with any other type of social, economically, culturally and ecologically sustainable activity, and impedes the future development of locations where there were once mining operations.

VI) These mining operations are put into place behind the back of the population:

a) Public information that the State is required to release is not made accessible to the public;
b) Information about the real consequences of mining is manipulated and falsified;
c) Citizen participation in the decision-making process is impeded.

Because of all this, we urge on State Authorities:

1) The immediate stoppage of all large-scale mining operations currently in progress, regardless of the stage of operations; and the suspension of new permits, concessions and claims issued under the current legal regimen.

2) The complete reparation for damages and injuries already caused, without the use of public funds.

3) The nullification and repealing of the current Mining Code, and the creation, with community participation, of a new set of mining laws.

4) The immediate application of Indigenous Legislation, as expressed in the Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, ILO No. 169, ratified by the National Congress) which affords Indigenous Peoples self-determination over their territories and its development.

5) The guarantee of access to the public of information about mining activities.

6) The guarantee of true community participation in the decisionmaking processes, with regard to evaluation and approval of mining operations.

7) The resolution of all pending legal cases concerning the contamination and environmental impacts of mining, as well as charges of violations of human rights against those who oppose mining operations, and other crimes caused by said operations.

8) Freedom for, and dropping of charges against, social activists who are persecuted for their oposition to mining activities.

This document has been edited and signed by the following community participants in the Encuentro:

Vecinos Autoconvocados de Andalgalá - Catamarca
Vecinos Autoconvocados de los Valles Calchaquíes (Salta, Tucumán, Catamarca)
Vecinos Autoconvocados de Belén - Catamarca
Autoconvocados de Catamarca
Movimiento de Autoconvocados de Concepción - Tucumán
Jóvenes Autoconvocados de Andalgalá - Catamarca
Jóvenes Autoconvocados de Santa María - Catamarca
Jóvenes Autoconvocados de Belén - Catamarca
Intersectorial de Tafí del Valle - Tucumán
Comunidad Indígena de Tafí del Valle - Tucumán
Federación Ambiental de Tucumán
Pro-Eco - Tafí Viejo, Tucumán
Comunidad Indígena de Quilmes - Tucumán
Comunidad Indígena de Santa María - Catamarca
Comunidad Indígena de Amaicha del Valle - Tucumán
Comunidad Indígena de Ingamana - Santa María, Catamarca
Colegio de Abogados de Catamarca
Asociación de Prestadores de Turismo Aventura - San Juan
Frente Cívico por la Vida - San Juan
Asamblea de Vecinos Autoconvocados de Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut y Patagones
Asamblea de Vecinos Autoconvocados de Esquel

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