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Technical Report on the Impacts of Barrick Gold on Glaciers at the Pascua Lama and Veladero Projects
May 20 2013 – Just weeks following the total closure by Chilean authorities of the Pascua Lama project due to contamination (including glacier contamination), the Center for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA) releases today a detailed report detailing the extensive risks and impacts to hundreds of glaciers and to periglacial environments caused by operations at Barrick’s Pascua Lama and Veladero projects.
It’s not a handful of glaciers, as Barrick argues, in the vicinity of Barrick’s mining operations, but rather more than 200 which are squarely in Veladero and Pascua Lama’s zone of influence in the high Central Andes mountains of Chile and Argentina. CEDHA’s report offers numerous Google Earth images, anonymously obtained photographs and official documents showing the systematic impacts of mining operations to these sensitive ecosystems resources, denied for the most part by Barrick’s management team.
The report reprints never-seen photographs obtained anonymously by CEDHA from workers in the mining sector concerned with what they are seeing occur in this remote region of Argentina and Chile which over the last several years, since Barrick Gold struck gold at the Veladero project in the mid 1990s, has become a sort of new California gold rush.
CEDHA’s report retells the story of the conflict spurred on by Barrick when they first proposed dynamiting glaciers to get at mineral reserves sitting underneath glacier ice, and how in each country the respective Congresses proposed National Glacier Protection Laws. The story includes the Presidential veto in Argentina (answering to Barrick’s pressure) of the world’s first glacier law and tells how Barrick first fully denied the presence of glaciers at the project sites but finally succumbed to the sanctions by Chilean authorities and accepted the fact they are surrounded by glaciers in their project influence area.
CEDHA reflects on the decisions taken by the Chilean government to suspend the Pascua Lama project for not complying with national regulations and laws on environmental safety and due to reiterative damage to the glaciers in the project vicinity, and contrasts this government attitude to neighbor Argentina, where the official line has unconditionally covered up Barrick’s impacts to glacier reserves, and denies along with the company any impacts to the resource.
For more information:
Jorge Daniel Taillant
tel: +1 415 713 2309
Original Full Spanish Version: (15MG): http://center-hre.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Los-Glaciares-de-Barrick-Gold-version-20-mayo-de-2013.pdf