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San Juan Argentina – June 17, 2014.
The non-profit environmental organization, FUCI (Fundación Ciudadanos Independientes de San Juan) filed criminal complaints against the federal Environment Secretary–Omar Judis and against the National Glacier Institute Director–Ricardo Villalba, arguing that neither is complying with the Naitonal Glacier Protection Law.
Based in the province of San Juan, where most of the controversial projects affecting glaciers are located (Pascua Lama–Barrick Gold; El Pachón–Xstrata Glencore; Los Azules–McEwen; El Altar–Stillwater), the FuCI also presented and administrative complaint against provincial mining authorities arguing that they are are not tending to acid drainage streaming from the tunel contruction site at Barrick Gold’s Pascua Lama project.
FuCI argues that neither the provincial nor national authorities are keeping to schedule on the implementation of a critical piece of the Glacier Law, which is the national inventory of glaciers and periglacial areas, which the organization argues will set out the terrain that must be kept clear of mining activity. Numerous publicly available reports from civil society organizations as well as national television programas have shown multiple sites that presently show impacts from mining operations as well as other public works in provinces such as San Juan, La Rioja, Catamarca, Jujuy and Salta.
The bi-national tunel at Pascua Lama, says FuCI, is sited in periglacial environment, which is why there is evidence of profuse drainage. Barrick Gold has abandonded works at the tunel following legal troubles met by Pascua Lama in Chile for environmental impacts to glaciers. In contrast, on the Argentine side of the project, in San Juan province, public authorities, such as Jorge Millon, the Secretary for Hydrology for the province (an ex-Barrick employee now in charge of granting Barrick Gold water permits) argue that Barrick Gold does not impact glaciers or periglacial environments.
“The National Law has not been followed, nor has the provincial law to protect glaciers. There is no glacier inventory … and in the end, whoever the responsible party–federal or provincial, we consider that the impacts to glaciers that we witness constitute an irresponsible act by those authorities that should be controling the mining sector.” Says the complaint.
For more information (in Spanish) :
Dra. Silvia Villalonga
Fundación Ciudadanos Independientes
54 9 264 410 2938
or for English, contact CEDHA: Jorge Daniel Taillant; email@example.com; 54 9 351 507 8376
Complaint against federal environmental agency and glacier institute:
Complaint against Provincial mining authority: