to the heart of the Andes Mountains where ‘Pascua Lama’ is poised to
become the world’s largest open pit mine. However, for the indigenous
people and farmers living in the valley below, Pascua Lama threatens
their only source of water in one of the driest places on earth. In a
war between corporate and social values two men are leading a fight to
defend their valley and way of life. Now, one election will
ultimately determine the true price of gold.
Learn about the
personal journey and political fight of the Diaguita peoples in defense
of their territory as they travel to Toronto, the corporate
headquarters of Barrick Gold a company infamous for human rights
violations and threats to intellectual freedom.
2 locations to choose from:
Wednesday January 11th at 6:30pm in the Nat Taylor Cinema (Ross Building) at
Thursday January 12th at 7:30pm in the Palmerston Library Theatre
560 Palmerston Avenue
Over 70% of mining companies are based in Canada, operating abroad and
on indigenous territory with little environmental and social
regulation and political impunity.
hosted by Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
For the York campus screening FB page, please click here:
For the Palmerson Library screening, please click here:
indigenous Diaguita community in the arid Atacama region of Chile has
always opposed Barrick Gold's Pascua Lama open pit gold and silver mine
on their ancestral lands beside the border with Argentina. Now the
Diaguita's only source of water is threatened as the government prepares
to allocate rights to Barrick. The filmmakers follow community leader
Sergio Campusano of the Diaguita Agricultural Community Los
Huascoaltinos as he seeks accountability from Barrick Gold in Toronto
and from government officials in Alto del Carmen in Chile. The mining
law is blamed by the Diaguita for allowing Barrick to deny access to
their ancestral lands. The Diaguita complain that Barrick is doing
exploration work in seven other areas of their land without permission,
and pumping groundwater that would normally flow into the Huasco River.
Even though water was defined as a "national public good" in the 1981
Water Code, it was also deemed a "market asset" and Chile gave away
water rights for free to companies in the "productive" sectors: mainly
multinational corporations engaged in mining, forestry, agricultural
exports, and hydroelectric development. Until now Rural Water
Associations such as in Huasco have been protected by a separate law and
their water has always been pristine. After large municipal water
services were sold off in 1998, multinationals owned 83% of all water
services. It's close to 100 % now due to further sell-offs in 2004.
The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan controls 4 of the 13 largest water
service companies. Some farmers in the Huasco Valley are not happy that
Barrick is trying to buy water usage rights from other farmers. Some
farmers are thinking of leaving for areas near the coast.
from the 16th century the Spanish made no claims on the Diaguita lands.
The Diaguita community remained intact as other indigenous communities
were assimilated into Chilean society. In 1902 Indian lands were
measured and in 1903 Estancia de los Huascoaltinos were given domain
title to 381,000 hectares communally held ( less than in 1600). In 1997
land titles that had been double-registered from 1910 by other farmers
and ranchers - regarded as illegal encroachments by the Diaguita - were
made legal by the "Law of Agricultural
Communities". The Diaguita
say they lost 140,000 hectares from this, and blame the government for
not recognizing them as an indigenous people. In 1998 Barrick bought two
ranches that had been double-registered in 1913 yet within Diaguita
lands. They have closed the roads ever since and deny the Diaguita
access to their grazing pastures. In 2005 the Diaguita declared their
lands as a "Private Wilderness Protected Area". In 2008 they requested
to CONAMA (National Environment Commission) that their lands be
recognized under existing legal framework as qualifying for protection
as "Huasco Private Nature
Reserve". CONAMA "refused to evaluate the project by declaring themselves incompetent".
have asked for a new environment agency, a department qualified to do
environmental impact studies, and an agency responsible for enforcing
The Diaguita are aware of the severe water
shortages caused by mining in the almost desert-like Atacama and
Antofagasta regions to the north. The nearest large town of Copiapo,
where the mining disaster happened two years ago, used to be supplied by
three rivers, but two have dried up. People buy water from mining
companies that build desalination plants on the coast. BHP Billiton is
building one for their Escondida copper mine for $4.3 billion. Water is
used by the Collahuasi mine to pump iron ore slurry via 8 inch pipe 203
km. The largest power plant in South America is being built between Alto
Carmen and Copiapo: the coal-fired Hacienda Castilla 2354MW, $4.4B plus $300M for a port.
In Feb. 2010 a complaint (filed in 2005) against Chile by Diaguita
Agricultural Community Los Huascoaltinos was deemed admissible by the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Thus, this
international body recognizes that the Chilean state committed alleged
violations of rights enshrined in the American Convention on Human
Rights when Chile approved Barrick Gold’s Pascua Lama mining project.
The testimonies began Oct. 2011.
In Nov. 2011 a coalition of
NGO's in Chile presented a report to Barrick investors US EXIM Bank and
EDC of Canada that declares Pascua Lama is in direct violation of the
Equator Principles, which are global norms laying out conditions for