|Ban Barrick: Organizations demand to stop construction of Pascua Lama|
listen to audio here
Feminist, religious and environmental organizations in Chile issued a declaration on the extractive project Pascua Lama, carried out by Canadian mining transnational corporation Barrick Gold in Huasco province, Chile and San Juan province, Argentina.
It is a binational project that has always faced the opposition of the civil society organizations, since it implies open-pit gold exploitation, something that would endanger the conservation of drinking water from the glaciers and the permanence of the ancient agriculture model of the area.
The declaration of the Chilean organizations states “over a month after the construction of Pascua Lama began, the state services issued their reports of the first surveillance made in the ground on November 26, 2009.
The results were so conclusive that the regional Health and DGA services asked for sanctions against Barrick Gold”.
It goes on: “The irregularities relate to water management: An ’unexpected environmental impact’ was found on the Estrecho glacier that was not informed by the transnational corporation; the undue passage of trucks on the bed of El Estrecho river; the construction of an illegal dam and; water extraction in unauthorized spots.
There was also evidence of an utter failure to comply with the Environmental Impact Resolution in terms of mitigation measures to avoid damaging the glaciers, in the building of infrastructure in the high cordillera without permission from the Health Service and even more serious is the illegal road blocking, even to the surveillance team”, In the communiqué, the organizations report the role of the governments of Chile and Argentina as accomplices of the mining transnational corporation.
They also say Barrick Gold’s strategy consists in supporting charities like Teleton or A roof for Chile
The organizations demand to stop the building of Pascua Lama until the environmental authority decides on the “unexpected environmental impact” in the Estrecho Glacier, and they insist about the urgency to set a moratorium on mining in the border area, as requested in May of 2009 to the Ministry of Mining (request that remains unaddressed), and until there are institutions that provide safeguards to the citizens on these issues, and a state policy that takes charge of a strategic sector for Chile such as mining.