Big Mining Investors Fear Big Losses
almost every Latin American country, transnational metals mining firms
are exploring, building and operating huge, open-pit gold mines which
extract and contaminate using tremendous amounts of water. These new
“modern mining” projects leave thousand-year legacies of acid mine
drainage, destruction of ecosystems, disease, and regional climate
change. Riches in the form of gold, silver and copper are exported to
first world shareholders, leaving behind poverty, dependency and
However, once-isolated communities are suddenly uniting and strengthening in their actions to halt Big Mining projects.
there are more than a hundred mining-related local conflicts, in every
Latin American country (www.minesandcommunities.org) Campesinos,
indigenous and community groups in villages and cities are fighting Big
Mining insertion. In countries such as Peru, Ecuador and Colombia,
multinational mining firms are responding by arming paramilitary groups
to meet community resistance with murder, threats and violence. In
every instance, mining firms attempt to "purchase" social license with
bribes, handouts, media campaigns and corrupt local politicians, to
sell "sustainable gold mining."
The tremendous over
consumption of water resources is the key issue in modern metals mining
projects. Big mines change regional climate patterns, dry up
ecosystems, cause the desertification of agricultural lands,
communities are dried out. Big mining projects are being located
primarily in sensitive river headwaters of vulnerable arid regions upon
which millions of human and ecological communities depend. Big mining,
through its intensive use of energy and destruction of habitat,
glaciers, aquifers, climate patterns and water resources, is a huge
factor in global climate change. Appropriate international and national
regulation of Big Mining projects is almost non-existent.
May 2, 2007, communities around the world affected by Big Mining
projects are going to carry out simultaneous demonstrations against the
Barrick Gold Corporation. Simultaneous actions will be held in Chile,
Argentina, Peru, Australia, Canada, the Philippines, Tanzania, and
Barrick Gold Corporation, the world's largest gold
mining firm, is spearheading the transnational metals mining firms
invasion of Latin America. In the past few years, community groups
struggling against projects of Barrick Gold Corporation on five
continents began communicating together, and this year they have joined
together for the first time to call for this Global Day of Action
Against Barrick Gold Corporation.
• In Argentina, community
activists forced Barrick Gold to suspend operations in the province of
La Rioja, the governor ousted due to his corrupt relations with the
mining firm, and a state referendum to prohibit open-pit mining is to
be voted by the population.
• Chilean and Argentine
communities are fighting tooth and nail against the construction of one
of the world's largest gold mines in the heart of a UNESCO World
Heritage Wilderness Area, in the delicate glacier peaks of the Andes
along the Chile-Argentina Border. This is Barrick’s infamous
Pascua-Lama/Veladero project. http://projectcensored.org/censored_2007/index.htm#21
In Ancash, Peru, fierce community resistance has been answered with the
murders of protestors by paramilitary and state forces working for the
Barrick Gold Corporation.
• In Australia, a series of powerful
direct actions carried out by local Aboriginal leaders, indigenous and
community activists has tied up and cast grave doubts on Barrick Gold's
huge Lake Cowal project.
On May 2, A Global Day of Action
Against Barrick Gold will be carried out. We invite all neighbors,
activists and ecologists to join or form the many local-scale actions
to be carried out simultaneously and autonomously throughout the world,
on the five continents in which Barrick Gold operates.
that through visible and spirited actions, we can join together to draw
attention to the grave threat brought upon our world by these
transnational large-scale open-pit metals mining projects using
cyanide. Our world does not need more gold and silver! We must fight to
preserve this world for our children and their children.
hope to send a message to Barrick Shareholders that their investments
are highly risky: Throughout the world, communities are rejecting and
shall put an end to these shameful metals mining operations.
written by David Modersbach
National University of Rosario, Argentina
For More Information:
Mines and Communities - www.minesandcommunities.org
CorpWatch - www.corpwatch.org
Latin American Observatory of Mining Conflicts - www.conflictosmineros.net