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No to the mine, do not burst the mountains

No to the mine, do not burst the mountains


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By Biodiversity

Fragments of testimonies, analyzes, documents and chronicles of what mining means in various countries, and of the rejection and resistance that is raised to prevent the exploitation and devastation that comes with extracting minerals on a large scale.


We put together several fragments of testimonies, analyzes, documents and chronicles of what mining means in various countries, and of the rejection and resistance that is raised to prevent the exploitation and devastation that comes with extracting minerals on a large scale.

A group of activists opposed to Minera San Xavier (msx) participated on June 17 in the general meeting of shareholders of Metallica Resources - owner of the mine - in Toronto, Canada to denounce to its investors that its company located in Cerro de San Pedro, San Luis Potosí in Mexico, is illegal and dangerous for the environment. His presence caused astonishment in Jorge Mendizábal Acebo from Potosi, an employee and spokesman for the Canadians who never imagined meeting his rivals in those latitudes. Hydrologist Mario Martínez asked shareholders if they were aware that his company had legal problems for its operation, and distributed a copy of the recent ruling of the 11th District Court that places the mining company in its terminal phase. Since October 2005, the court ordered the nullity of the operating permit that the National Institute of Ecology granted to the transnational in 1999. In that ruling, msx lost its authorization to operate, but deceitfully and in contempt of the judicial resolution, it was granted a new permit with fewer conditions than the previous one, which gave them justification to operate.

Since Canadians began to operate in that locality, they knew of the risk represented by investing in a protected area, with an immeasurable historical and cultural value, defended from different trenches by a handful of environmentalists scorned and mistreated by company administrators and officials. governmental. The arrogance and the fact of feeling protected by the PAN governments, made these administrators believe that the mining company would work on whatever it was, even spending "millions of dollars" in its legal defense, money of which there is a huge amount in bribes to "Soften" corrupt authorities and buy advertising space. The days of msx are numbered. Notary Eduardo Martínez Benavente, June 2008

A few weeks ago the Crucitas Mine permit was resurrected in Cutris de San Carlos, Costa Rica (annulled three years ago by the Supreme Court of Justice) to settle just 3 kilometers from the San Juan River (bordering Nicaragua), an environmentally and politically fragile area. It will be a disaster in this area and it will cause conflicts of great proportions (it will destroy the vegetal layer, contaminate aquifers, desertify the soils, kill biodiversity through poisons or sediments, alter the land and the landscape, waste and pollute water, damage health of people — visual, respiratory, long-term fatal problems — and it will affect society — dividing peoples and weakening fishing and tourism.

This is what happened with Miramar (the only open pit gold mine in the country, disastrous in every way and whose company declared itself without funds to not repair the damage it has caused, so the Nicaraguan government is about to file a lawsuit against Costa Rica .

Project after project, companies demonstrate that their corporate image of progress does not materialize. And the government, defender of mining development, is not competent in supervision: in the same Crucitas permit it was stated that it would be the company that will train the personnel who will supervise them, the company judge and party? And while our peasants suffer from droughts, the government, with this mine, allows us to exploit more than 30 thousand liters of water per hour.

The years gave us reason when at the end of the eighties - is it a coincidence that we had the same president? -, the population of San Carlos knew how to defend our resources from Eurospec, which intended to exploit the territory that today we know as Parque del Agua Juan Castro White. And we will continue. Heidy Murillo Quesada, president of the Federation of Conservation Organizations (Fecon)

Exploratory drilling of a group of Argentine geologists, hired by a Canadian company, revealed that the Puna in the province of Salta would be an important water reservoir. Now, they intend to export the water to the La Escondida mining company, in Chile, the largest copper extractor in the world.

The controversy did not take long to ignite the area. The people of Tolar Grande, a town located in the Altiplano of Salta, more than 3,500 meters high, feel that they are extracting a vital resource from them. The newspaper The Tribune, de Salta, revealed that water would already be being extracted to send to La Escondida, and spoke of a $ 5.7 billion business.

"This is the first hydrogeological study to measure the potential of the Puna," said engineer Rubén Gianni, who works for Mines Argentina.

"The people of the Puna are not going to allow looting," said Leopoldo Salva, deputy for the Los Andes department, which covers the entire Puna of Salta. Mining companies need a lot of water to run and La Escondida is running out of it. "The Chileans have already prohibited them from taking water from their territory," Salva said.

According to Gianni, “it is not intended to dry up the Puna. We are studying how much water there is in this area and if after supplying the region there is a balance left to market ”. According to the geologist, there are no ethical or legal questions to sell water, which can be treated like any other mineral. "It is not heresy to sell water," he said.

Salva warned: “they want to sell fresh water to Chile. At no time have they come to speak with the people or the community. Just now".

According to the study, one of the exploration wells near Cerro Socompa, on the Argentine-Chilean border, pumped 500 thousand liters per hour, like the best Argentine basins. The goal of the Canadian company would be to sell 1,000 liters of water per second. "The surplus water that is found already belongs to the Mines Argentina company," said Gianni. Fundación Protegermember of the World Conservation Union (IUCN)

Liquid data. The open cast coal mines operating in Scotland used the equivalent of 13.2 tonnes of water per tonne of coal produced in 1980. We can understand why the Intercor mining company in Colombia denies the rural and Wayuú populations of La Guajira access to the dam built by the corporation after changing the course of the rivers.

The Southern Peru Corporation (spc) operations at the Cuajone and Toquepala mines require 1700 liters of water per second, plus 500 liters per second of groundwater. The effect is that the Suche lagoon, which supplies the spc's activities, reduces its water level by 986 liters per second, while the demand for groundwater reduces the water level of the rivers in the area by 250 liters per second. .

The Colombian newspaper Time reported (on October 31, 1994) that in the Chocó region, mining corporations dumped 4,400 tons of toxic waste into rivers. How much will this amount rise in fourteen years taking into account that production has soared in all the countries of the region in response to demand and high prices?

The Marlin mine (of Montana Exploradora) in Guatemala dried up 6 wells used by the communities. The mine uses 250 thousand liters of water per hour, while a peasant family from San Miguel de Ixtahuacán uses 30 liters a day. In other words, the mine uses in one hour the water that a peasant family would use for more than 22 years.

The Summitville gold mine in southern Colorado, USA, operated by a Canadian corporation, was heralded as a model for what modern mining could do, but as soon as it started operating in 1986, it dumped cyanide, acids, and heavy metals in the Alamosa River, poisoning a 27-kilometer stretch. The company filed for bankruptcy in 1992, the Environmental Protection Agency took over, and the US Department of Justice has failed to get Canadians to freeze the company's assets to repay the $ 100 million they have spent trying to repair the damage. Defender Pachamama, Ecuador, June 3, 2008

Jethro Tulin, Community Representative Ipili in Papouasie in New Guinea stated that the Barrick Gold company came to their village 17 years ago promising jobs, schools and development. Now Barrick Gold exploits the area causing contamination and death to the community that is a few meters from the mine. Before Barrick Gold's arrival, his people lived off traditional agriculture and mining, now their crops are contaminated, and children play and drink the cyanide-contaminated water, causing illness and death. Over the years, the community has organized and resists Barrick's attacks, which the company has responded with with assassinations, since it has a security body (paramilitaries) that, no matter at what cost, have murdered more than 32 people among men, women and children, without governments retaliating, "our governments are weak and corrupt," says Tulin. Kolektivo Azul, Montreal, Canada

Bajo la Alumbrera is one of the ten great copper companies in the world and one of the fifteen largest gold companies. It is the main deposit in operation in the country and a work that removes 340 tons of rock daily and uses 66 thousand liters of water per minute. There are thirteen years of mining exploitation, 680 million dollars in annual turnover, four proven toxic spills, some ten criminal complaints for contamination and innumerable accusations for failing to fulfill the promised regional welfare. This deposit is the witness case of large-scale metalliferous mining, a million-dollar extractive industry that advances in Argentina along the mountain range.

But the emblem of national mining had a small brake: the Federal Chamber of Tucumán prosecuted the vice president of the company, Julián Patricio Rooney, as the alleged perpetrator criminally responsible for the crime of contamination dangerous to health.

With the ruling, a surprise in Andalgalá and Santa María (the towns closest to the site), Rooney became the first senior manager of a large company to be prosecuted for contamination. A garnishment will also apply, not yet determined.

“It is the first time that a company of this magnitude has had a setback of this type. We know that it is only one step, with a large judicial bureaucracy that we do not know how it will end. What we do know is that every day we are more in this fight, ”remarked Javier Rodríguez Pardo, a historic environmental activist and member of the Union of Citizen Assemblies (uac). Darío Aranda, page 12, May 31, 2008

La Minera Majaz sa has a long history of irregularities and violations of the rights of communities in Peru. In the Permanent Peoples Court, the company's case served to question its exploration activities and the projected open-pit mining that it intends to carry out in the Río Blanco project.

This affects the peasant community in the northern region of Piura. It pollutes the water, affects the agricultural activity and the health of thousands of inhabitants, and it deserts due to the enormous amounts of water used. There is a high risk of destruction and irreversible impact to the biodiversity of the Páramo region and the cloud forest. This impact of mining extends to the neighboring Cajamarca region, and would affect the Amazon River basin.

Majaz operates illegally in the territory of the affected communities, since it obtained its license with incomplete documentation and without respecting the right to consultation that is guaranteed to the communities by law. It has violently repressed popular protests, injuring dozens of people, and has killed two community members to date.

Majaz also promoted the false accusation of terrorism against dozens of residents - with the support of the government - for opposing the abusive and polluting activities of the company.

The president of the Provincial Federation of Peasant Communities of Ayabaca and leader of the National Confederation of Communities of Peru Affected by Mining (Conacami), Magdiel Carrión, said: “Despite the defamation that is done to us, the peoples who live in the area we are aware and we continue to resist, and we will not allow the government to trample on our communal rights, our rights as people and as Peruvians ”.

Carrión indicated the lack of dialogue: “there is no respect, because if you want to speak, you are already a terrorist, you are already a drug trafficker, or you are against development, you are the manger dog as we are called, and we are sorry that a Peruvian government, which is there to govern and protect Peru, has to accuse or defame the peoples that resist an imposition of transnational companies in this way.

Despite multiple intimidations over several years, Carrión declared: “The fight has been going on for four years but we continue to resist. And in our communities, I think it's difficult for them to happen. The military will pass if possible, but the mining companies will not pass by the will of the people ”. Radio Mundo Real, May 2008 http://www.radiomundoreal.fm/rmr/rmr/?q=es/node/25354

Barrick Gold mining company claims to have a social license of the United Nations because it has positively certified the use of cyanide and has a unesco license (which until today maintains absolute silence) to destroy the Pascua Lama ecosystem in the heart of the San Guillermo Biosphere Reserve in the Argentine province of San Juan .

Who gave Barrick credit for the good use of cyanide? The International Cyanide Management Institute, that is, an entity created by the mining transnationals themselves at the request of a committee that brings together the parties involved in the framework of the United Nations Environmental Program, due to the damage caused by the use of cyanide in mining, and thus wash the image of an activity that records pollution impacts from day one. Its priority is to win the social license denied by affected communities or in the process of becoming so, where open-pit cyanide deposits are exploited. The entity issues the International Cyanide Management Code for the manufacture, transportation and use in the production of gold. (Nothing says about sulfuric acid and the rest of the mining of copper, uranium, etc. Only that of gold. Nor does it certify that the cyanide is destroyed after the gold leaching, which does not guarantee the control of acid drainage. later.) All board members who sign the certifications are involved in the mining trade.

Who managed the creation of the International Cyanide Management Code and at the request of whom was the board of directors constituted? Barrick Gold is the answer. The transnational open-pit mining giant has already certified its three mines in South America with this system, and previously those in Peru and Australia. Javier Rodríguez Pardo, May 16, 2008.

Various police corporations in the state of Colima maintain a siege since December 12, 2007 on the Nahua towns of El Platanar, in the Ejido Plan de Méndez, and Las Pesadas, in the Ejido Ayotitlán, both in the municipality of Cuautitlán, Jalisco, where the Peña Colorada open-pit mines are located [that extracts 40% of the iron from all of Mexico] and Minera del Norte (Minosa), subsidiaries of the Italian-Argentine corporation Ternium Hylsa. It is the oldest border conflict in the country, between Jalisco and Colima (they go 88 years). It has passed through the executive and judicial powers and is currently aired in the Senate of the Republic. The dispute began with the Timbillos massacre in 1920, in which 13 indigenous people from Ayotitlán and Telcruz were murdered and their corpses hung for days in fig trees by the Arias de El Mamey family from Colima. The mining and territorial conflict has spread thanks to the disinterest and complicity of the Jalisco authorities, and the ambition of the Colima women. Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (Rema).


The Agrominera Association of the South of Bolívar in Colombia (Asoagromisbol) was formed in 1993. It is an organization that promotes its demands for the defense of life, small mining, guarantees for agricultural production and the legalization of titles, but also maintains the construction of the social fabric. Today it is a Federation so its acronym is Fedeagromisbol.

By the end of 1994 the state demanded that the miners be associated and thus legalize up to 96 hectares for each association. This was reported to the miners with only three months to go before the closing of the call. The miners expedited the procedures and submitted them on time, but the government responded that most areas could not be legalized because they were overlapped by the Lleras Palacios family, who was not known in the region. Luisa Fernanda Landuros, shareholder of Mineros San Lucas, wanted to buy from the Lleras Palacios family and sell to the Multinational Conquistador Mine.

Faced with such a situation and due to the complicity of the State, in 1996 the communities began a legal fight and a national complaint. The selective assassinations of leaders and the violation of human rights by the army intensified. The communities mobilized, denounced what happened and joined the marches in the south of the country.

In 1998, the paramilitaries affirmed that they will defend the investment of Conquistador Mine and Corona Golfi. They assassinated Andrés Molina, leader of the SurSur, with which the people moved to Simiti and then to the head of San Pablo. The miners of the upper zone showed solidarity by mobilizing for Arenal, Miccoahumado and a delegation traveled to Bogotá, where they seized the United States embassy for 14 days, evicted them and moved to the National University, and from there they carried out permanent actions to make visible the mobilization: there were also 19 thousand people in Barrancabermeja, until in October 1998 agreements were reached with President Andrés Pastrana. The communities signed directly with the national government without the intermediation of local powers.

When the people returned, the strongest onslaught of the paramilitaries began. The area was militarized by the army and the next day the hamlets were burned by the paramilitaries, as well as the municipalities of Arenal and Tiquisio. The entire region was blocked. Two days after signing the agreements on the way back to the upper area of ​​San Pablo, a massacre occurred and at the end of December in the urban area another. In the face of all this persecution, in 1999 the agromining communities declared themselves in resistance. Fedeagromisbol, "Local experiences of local management and control of the territory", Seeds, No. 32/33

The strike in Moquegua broke out when the authorities of the region demanded from the central government a greater share of the income left by the mining company Southern Peru. This company operates two copper mines, one in Moquegua and the other in neighboring Tacna, on the border with Chile, and operates a refinery in Moquegua. With more than $ 2.3 billion in profits in 2007, Southern is the nation's leading mining company and one of the world's largest copper exploiters.

The Mining Federation, with more than one hundred thousand members, demands a salary increase and the incorporation of mining workers into the payroll, 80% of whom work in the black, while increasing pressure on the government to raise taxes on millionaires profits of the mining companies, which as the only contribution to the Peruvian State pay 30% of their profits. In 2007, mining exported more than 15 billion dollars, 60% of the country's total exports. Carlos Noriega, "A people against the mines", June 2008

The possible mining exploitation would still deepen plus the food crisis, caused by the scarcity and high prices of corn, beans and rice, since 50% of Salvadoran agricultural production is concentrated in the departments where the 29 precious metal exploration projects are located.

This is indicated by a study by the Center for Research on Investment and Trade (Ceicom), recently carried out. "The government has concessioned 1,238.63 km² to mining companies, especially Canadians and the United States, in areas where a large quantity of cereals, dairy products, meats, vegetables and fruits are produced in peasant production units," says the aforementioned investigation.

The study Impacts on agricultural production in mining exploration areas, in the context of the food crisis shows that in the seven departments threatened by mining are Santa Ana, Chalatenango, San Salvador, Cabañas, Morazán, San Miguel and La Unión, where 46.6% of the country's basic grains are produced. The report also reveals 56.7% of the national cattle herd and 28% of the national pig herd are located there.

This production is especially threatened by the intensive use of water in the separation of metals and by the contamination of the air, water and soil generated by cyanide, heavy metals and acid drainage. Most of the projects are on the basins of the Lempa, Sumpul, Grande de San Miguel, Torola and Goascarán rivers.

The investigation warns that mining would affect 60% of food production (cereals, meat, milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables and honey), since some departments without mining projects would be affected by contamination. “It is foreseeable that the destruction of family agricultural production units will deepen and a scenario of greater disarticulation of agriculture in the north of the country will be configured. This would increase the risks in our security and food sovereignty ”. Communications team of the National Roundtable against Metallic Mining, El Salvador

A group of independent journalists and researchers they denounce that the US military was involved in an African nightmare that has gone largely unnoticed. The civil wars and invasions that have implicated the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during the last decade, allowed the DRC's neighbor, Rwanda, along with its army, some Rwandan-supported militias and a few multinational mining corporations, to move to the eastern mountainous regions of the DRC and mine for gold, copper, uranium, diamonds and coltan (for electronic equipment) as chaos raged across the country. According to investigative journalist Wayne Madsen, United States Special Forces, some intelligence operatives and certain private military companies helped the Rwandan army and its militias to invade the DRC. To justify the invasion, it was argued that Rwanda could thus counter the Hutus, who massacred hundreds of thousands of Tutsis in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide and who had escaped east of the DRC. However, independent journalists like Madsen suggest that the "Hutu problem" was just a ruse. John Lasker "Wars for the resources of Africa", Peoples Magazine , March 11, 2008

In the previous Ecuadorian Law it was said that the mining concession "It is a real right." In the "new" they increased the word "limited", so we think they will limit dealers. But how do they limit them if this concession says that it can be transferred to others, sold, mortgaged. Continue in the traded of the stock exchanges where by passing from one hand to another millions of dollars are earned. How could this government not allow speculation with the concessions, which have already meant millionaire profits for companies and others who have enriched themselves with this juicy business, even before removing the minerals?

According to this law, there is no place where mining activity cannot be carried out, even in "lakes, ponds and reservoirs or in places destined to capture water for the populations and at distances of up to 200 meters measured horizontally from them." According to the law, you only need authorization from the Ecuadorian Institute of Hydraulic Resources, and with that permission they can operate in water sources even if they are for human consumption. Coordinator for the Defense and Conservation of the Northwest of Pichincha Codecono, June 6

The cry of No to the Mine of the mobilization in Esquel and the plebiscite of March 23, 2003, defined the overwhelming rejection of the gold and silver mining project of the Meridian Gold mining company, in Esquel, Argentina. The latter, seeing that they could not make the holes, introduced the figure of El Desquite, their subsidiary, who are actually themselves. A new company appeared, called Patagonia Gold, which is apparently the one that Cordón Esquel and other deposits currently have (the package that the company had in the cordillera and foothills near Chubut). They never gave up hope of exploiting since the plebiscite won by us by 82% is not binding, but it forced the deputies to pass a law prohibiting open-pit mining and the use of sodium cyanide. That was immediately after the plebiscite of March 23, 2003.

The mining company did not leave anyway, it continues to work in several places where it previously held a "mining demonstration", where it declared zones to search for polymetallic minerals. One way that today they use to reverse their negative situation is by filing unfounded legal complaints against the inhabitants before the protest. Interview with Javier Rodríguez Pardo, from Marcelo Maggio: "The Andes Mountains are administered by transnational companies: it is a third country located between Argentina and Chile"

In Sibanal, Guatemala, 34 communities expressed their rejection of mining activity April 18. Municipal and departmental authorities participated in the process, plus representatives of local organizations.

Another consultation was held on May 13 in the 53 communities of the municipality of San Juan Ixcoy, Huehuetenango, in the community assemblies. Authorities from neighboring municipalities, deputies, representatives of organizations and the diplomatic corps participated as observers.

The management began when the commune of San Juan Ixcoy, Huehuetenango was notified of a mining right granted to Guatemala Copper sa, to explore 10 metallic minerals in an area of ​​almost 78 km2, in that and five other municipalities of the department.

For the consultation process, the municipal authorities called an open council and it was agreed to establish a permanent session of the Municipal Development Council (Comude). 11 commissions were created to deal with communication, awareness, logistics, food, transport, writing, documentation and systematization. “The investment was shared 60% by the municipality and 40% by the communities. There were two communities in which the population decided to finance their assemblies ”, assured Andrés Escobar, from the Municipal Planning Office. The rejection of the population was massive. In the municipalities of Comitancillo and Tacaná, San Marcos, two consultations were scheduled on May 16 and 23.

Another rejection occurred in Baja Verapaz, after learning that the Ministry of Energy and Mines (mem) granted a mining right to Procesadora de Minerales sa, to work in the Chi Santiago mountain, which borders Rabinal and Cubulco, Baja Verapaz, and Chicamán , Quiché. The license is to extract barite. The mining company has Guatemalan capital and has ties with the company Pisos El Águila.

At the meeting of the Departmental Development Council (Codede), on May 5, and at the request of civil society, it was decided to issue a ruling against the licenses granted for mining activities in the department. This pronouncement will be presented before the mem and the respective Commissions in the Congress of the Republic. "Consultations have not yet been carried out in any of the municipalities of Baja Verapaz, but given the situation the local authorities could feel pressured to convene them," said Araceli González, secretary of Codede.

Colom has declared that the government will respect the consultative processes. However, the Executive has not appointed a team or entity to be in charge of analyzing and monitoring the issue. Infopress: Guatemala, opposition to mining continues to rise, May 16, 2008

With the "efficient" official delivery of concessions of exploration, today simply "mining", and the complicity or consent of the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), companies and their accomplices invade territories, deceiving the population and corrupting local and state authorities . The false promises of welfare, roads, or miserable land rents, are the common hooks - new mirrors or glass beads in exchange for precious or industrial metals. Since 2000, almost 10% of the national territory has been handed over to transnationals through mining exploitation concessions. The threat to hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of land, owned mostly by ejidatarios and peasant and indigenous community members, grows throughout Mexico where there are 23 giant mineral deposits identified, which places the country among the 12 largest producers in the world in by at least 18 minerals.

Aprovechando la obsoleta ley minera, la ausencia de fianzas, la ridícula política fiscal y la debilidad de las normas ambientales y de seguridad, la explotaciones mineras a gran escala, “a cielo abierto”, remueven cerros, rellenan barrancas, destruyen sembradíos, desplazan pueblos, envenenan manantiales, ríos y cuencas. Y cuando abandonan sus fundos, sólo dejan en nuestros pueblos su rastro de destrucción, enormes tiraderos de desechos y residuos, tierras estériles, aguas contaminadas, enfermedad y desolación.

Ante las acciones comunitarias de organización y defensa para enfrentar los proyectos, la respuesta de las empresas y los gobiernos es el hostigamiento y la represión. La naturaleza insustentable de la minería a gran escala, y su irresponsable expansión y fomento vuelve a registrar etnocidio, migración forzada, envenenamientos masivos, ficticios conflictos de límites territoriales, grandes y trágicos accidentes, por la irresponsable violación de normas de seguridad y de manejo de explosivos, hidrocarburos y tóxicos.

Bajo esta situación intolerable y devastadora, las organizaciones reunidas en Temacapulín decidimos organizarnos en una red nacional de los afectados directos o indirectamente por la minería, que nos permita unir fuerzas y fortalecer la defensa de la autonomía y soberanía de los pueblos sobre nuestros territorios, comunidades, y recursos naturales, que a partir de hoy denominamos Red Mexicana de Afectados por la Minería (Rema). Declaración de Temacapulín, Jalisco, México, junio de 2008. www.ecoportal.net

Source: Grain


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