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San Juan province governor accused of 'economic ties' with Barrick Gold

Buenos Aires Herald

Deputies Elisa Carrió and Miguel Bonasso filed a complaint against San Juan province Governor José Luis Gioja and Barrick Gold mining company for alleged "economic links" between the two. They also accused President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of vetoeing the Glaciers Law in order to favour the company.

In the complaint, the lawmakers requested the Judiciary to investigate "the links between the Gioja brothers -the governor and Senator César Gioja- and the multi-national mining company; and the possible link of those events with the presidential veto of the Glaciers Law."

The presentation has to do with the "tributary benefits granted to the Pascua-Lama bi-national venture" boosted by Barrick Gold in Argentina and Chile.

"We request for the personal, trade, and economic links of the aforementioned national and provincial public officials with the Barrick Gold mining company to be investigated," Carrió, Bonasso, and the Civic Coalition deputy Fernanda Reyes, highlighted.

According to Carrió, "it is necessary to investigate the president for possible traffic of influence in favour of Barrick Gold."

"They're coming from the water and we don't be accomplices like Gioja and (Daniel) Filmus are of the looting of the most prized global natural resource," Carrió said.

The document, now in the hands of Surrogate Federal Judge Marcelo Martínez de Giorgi, states that senator Gioja "boasted on his web page of being a provider, among other things, of Barrick Gold mining."

On the other hand, they said that Mining Secretary Jorge Mayoral "is a shareholder" in several mining companies, which "count with benefits granted by the Law of Mining Investments."

"The major mining ventures planned for the glaciers of the mountain range appear under the treaty on integration and Argentine-Chilean mining complementation, true symbol of a sovereignty hand-over to affairs of the great multi-national mining industry," the document reads.

At the same time, the deputies assured that "the treaty allows multi-national mining companies to exploit existing mining resources in mountain range areas almost without restrictions."

Carrió and the Dialogue for Buenos Aires deputy also said that CFK received Peter Munk, president of Barrick Gold, on April 15, and that -according to media sources- signed an agreement in which the company is granted extraordinary tax benefits.

"The president's picture in Canada with the president of Barrick Gold is scandalous," Carrió added in reference to the meeting developed in June in the framework of the G20 summit.

Also, they asked to carry out several proof measures, among them, Juan Carlos Pezoa's testimony, Treasury Secretary, and Cristian Modolo's, Public Income Under-secretary.

When consulted, representatives of Barrick Gold assured their "operations are developed in the strictest adherence to current legislation and our environmental venture is certified under international standards, such as the ISO 14001 regulation and the International Code for Cyanide Management."

According to the companies' representatives, its "operations and projects in San Juan count with the pertinent environmental authorizations, which were obtained after previously complying with the evaluation process carried out by the Interdisciplinary Commissions integrated by authorities, as well as national and provincial institutions."

"Also, we want to highlight that our mining activities in San Juan are permanently audited by national and provincial authorities," the sources added.


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