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- Chile:

25 de Mayo de 2013

Chilean Organizations Call Ruling on Barrick s Pascua Lama Project "Dangerous Precedent"

Eleven Chilean organizations, representing groups living downstream of Barrick Gold's Pascua Lama project, speak out against the recent fine and suspension imposed on the company for not going far enough. Barrick Gold faces a record fine of $16.4 million and must halt operations at its project in Chile until it takes measures to prevent water contamination.

- Public Declaration:

Multimillion fine and temporary suspension: A politically correct, media-friendly and socio-environmentally criminal sentence

The sentence by the Chilean Superintendent of the Environment constitutes a dangerous precedent for communities affected by mega-projects, given its disregard for the history of complaints and sanctions against the Pascua Lama project and the voices of organizations that conscious of the inviability of this binational mining project for more than ten years.

For the communities and organizations of the Huasco Valley, which have been complaining about Barrick Gold’s irresponsible operations in our headwaters for years, the Superintendent’s decision was made to suit the transnational mining company, which during the entire process pressured to ensure that it could keep working. This does not negate the rigour or serious nature with which the authority carried out its duties in technical terms, but rather demonstrates how the will of the Chilean state to fail to consider options for local development, to manipulate public opinion as it wishes, and to impose predatory extractivism that preys upon the sources of water and life of our territories.

We are faced with a sentence that recognizes that the title holder “has deliberately failed to comply with a large number of commitments which, it is worth recalling, it took upon itself in order to benefit from the favourable approval of this project” (Free-Standing Resolution No. 024, February 15, 2006). The four months of investigation, instigated by a complaint filed by the company itself in order to limit the sanctions, revealed that the mining company didn’t adequately construct the North Perimeter Channel, which caused two landslides affecting the water supplies and lowlands. Furthermore, following from the inspection into this disaster, it was determined that there were a series of projects that had been the company had committed to in its Environmental Qualifying Resolution (RCA by its initials in Spanish) related to water management that were not constructed, as well as a considerable number that were illegally constructed. Additionally, problems were found in the management of water quality studies and hiding and omission of information (Decree 37). Aggravating all of this, the authority emited provisional measures that the company criminally decided not to fulfill (Resolution 107), demonstrating the company’s ongoing disinterest in the life and health of downstream communities.

However, all of the above, serious as it is, only refers to events verified between December and February 2013, ignoring the history of abuses to the RCA under which the company has been operating, something which we formally asked to be considered. In other words, this sanction does not include the already confirmed impacts on glaciers, road works that have not been built as promised, poor labour conditions, usurpation of waters that was sanctioned in 2007, discharge of waters contaminated with fecal coliforms into the river, which, had they been incorporated, inevitably would have led to the revocation of the Environmental Qualifying Resolution (RCA) and the project’s closure.

As such, this sentence, while being a sign to companies that they should operate better from here on in, suffers from amnesia that leaves in impunity all of the damage that has been caused so far; giving the impression that the new environmental authority is nothing more than a renovated version of that which has allowed the accelerated degradation of our common goods to take place.

For us, the fine that the Superintendent has imposed is insignificant when measured up against the irreparable damages produced in our headwaters. As a result, more than a temporary suspension and fine, what really makes this sentence relevant, is that the state recognizes what we have been saying for ten years: that Barrick is an irresponsible mining company that lies and makes a laughing stock of Chilean institutions, that has regularly and intentionally damaged the environment, and while benefiting from the support of the authorities, represents a threat to glacier and peri-glacier areas and, along with them, to the life and health of thousands of people who live in the Chilean Huasco Valley and in the province of San Juan, Argentina.

The below-signed organizations emphatically defend the right to life and reiterate that we will not rest until we achieve the definitive closure of this destructive Pascua Lama project.


Asamblea por el Agua del Huasco Alto

Comité Ecológico y Cultural Esperanza de Vida

Comunidad Diaguita Patay Co

Consejo de Defensa del Valle del Huasco

Grupo Ecológico Atacama Limpio

Pastoral Salvaguarda de la Creación

Comisión Agua y Vida. Iglesia Evangélica Presbiteriana, Chigüinto

Unidos por el Agua, Conay

Pajareteros Alto del Carmen

Sindicato de la Construcción, Provincia Huasco

Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales, OLCA

Translated from original in Spanish available here.





Minería a gran escala / Destrucción de fuentes de agua / Desastre ambiental / Contaminación del agua / Pascua-Lama /

Proyecto Pascua-Lama:

No hay respuestas: Pascua Lama es denunciado por muerte de especie vulnerable, sigue funcionando pese a su clausura total y mantendría negociaciones con el SII (31/03/2021)

Pascua Lama: Visita de inspección en seguimiento del Acuerdo de Conciliación Consejo de Defensa – Barrick por destrucción de vegas y llaretas (25/03/2021)

Caso Pascua Lama, una deuda millonaria y perdonada: acusan que Barrick Gold y el SII estarían involucrados en un caso de colusión (23/02/2021)

Servicio de Impuestos Internos (SII) oculta información sobre negociaciones con Barrick Gold (16/02/2021)

Escándalo Nacional: Pascua Lama sigue afectando glaciares y realiza sondajes sin autorización de Sernageomin (04/02/2021)

Senado oficia al SII para que explique millonario crédito a Barrick Gold (Pascua Lama) (18/11/2020)

Pascua-Lama: mientras se juega su última carta en la Corte Suprema, el SII le autoriza crédito por US$443 millones (15/11/2020)

Declaración de Comunidades Diaguitas ante el cierre de Pascua Lama (10/10/2020)

Aprendizajes tras la clausura total y definitiva del proyecto Pascua Lama (23/09/2020)

La minera canadiense Barrick Gold fuera de los territorios de Chile y Argentina (20/09/2020)

Chile - Minería a gran escala

“¡Queremos territorios libres de extractivismo!”: La lucha de comunidades en defensa del río Colina (23/07/2021)

Ordenan medidas urgentes a minera inglesa por eventuales daños al medio ambiente y la salud en Antofagasta (13/07/2021)

Primer Tribunal Ambiental deja sin efecto Resolución de Calificación Ambiental del proyecto de adecuaciones de Minera Cerro Colorado (13/07/2021)

Putaendo no se rinde, presentan reclamación a la aprobación de 350 sondajes mineros (07/07/2021)

Video: Voces en defensa de Maricunga - Roberto Vergara, presidente de la Asociación de Guías de Turismo de Atacama (25/06/2021)

Vecinos/as de Penco acuden al SEA cuestionando proceso de participación en proyecto de minería de tierras raras (23/06/2021)

Comunidad de Penco en alerta por excavaciones de minera de tierras raras (20/06/2021)

Video: Voces en defensa de Maricunga - Natalia Soto, administradora en Ecoturismo en Refugio Maricunga (18/06/2021)

Nuevas manifestaciones comunitarias en Putaendo contra proyecto minero Vizcachitas (12/06/2021)

Con caravana, cicletada y cacerolazo protestarán contra aprobación ilegal de exploraciones de proyecto minero Vizcachitas (10/06/2021)

Minería a gran escala

Denuncian represión policial en corredor minero del sur: Piden al nuevo Presidente peruano incluir sus demandas en mensaje del 28 de julio. Perú (26/07/2021)

Documental: “En el nombre del Litio”. Argentina (25/07/2021)

Minería en el más allá, fase superior de los extractivismos. Internacional (14/07/2021)

"Son las mineras o nosotros. No tenemos otra salida". La historia de Andalgalá y su lucha por el agua. Argentina (13/07/2021)

Diálogo Internacional sobre la Minería Metálica a Cielo Abierto. Panamá (02/07/2021)

Destrucción de fuentes de agua

Litio en Catamarca: un peligro para las lagunas altoandinas y la producción local. Argentina (10/06/2021)

Multa récord contra mina de oro propiedad de empresa canadiense Centerra Gold por dañar glaciares en Kirguistán. Kirguistán (09/05/2021)

Anglo American esconde la verdad de su impacto en Latinoamérica. Internacional (04/05/2021)

Presentan informe sobre los impactos de la minería de litio en Lagunas Altoandinas de Catamarca. Argentina (06/04/2021)

Desastre ambiental

Amazonía en cifras: Recursos naturales, cambio climático y desigualdades. Perú (28/06/2021)

Los grandes bancos invirtieron más de 3 billones de dólares en combustibles fósiles desde el acuerdo climático de París. Internacional (27/03/2021)

Foto desde Estación Espacial Internacional muestra deforestación de la Amazonía peruana por la minería de oro. Perú (12/02/2021)

Centenar de desaparecidos en India tras ruptura de glaciar. India (07/02/2021)

El Movimiento de Afectadas por Represas recurrirá el acuerdo sobre Brumadinho entre Vale y el gobierno de Minas Gerais. Brasil (06/02/2021)

La minera Vale deberá pagar 7.000 millones de dólares por la tragedia que dejó 270 muertos en Brasil. Brasil (04/02/2021)

Ver más:
Minería a gran escala / Destrucción de fuentes de agua / Desastre ambiental / Contaminación del agua / Pascua-Lama /