October 9, 2012 – San Juan Argentina. In yet another legal complaint filed to enforce Argentina’s new glacier law, Stillwater’s (NYSE: SWC, TSX: SWC.U ) Peregrine Metals of Argentina faces criminal complaint for alleged glacier impacts of it’s copper, gold and molybdenum project El Altar.
The complaint, which has not yet been made public, was filed by a Buenos Aires based company called CCM, SA. According to the company’s lawyer, Naseer Uzair, who gave a press interview yesterday, satellite images reveal glacier impacts by the El Altar project along an 18km span.
Nestled in the high icy cold altitudes of the Central Andes Mountains, the El Alter copper project is now facing legal action due to evidence showing extensive glacier impacts from exploratory work (see picture; the reader can visit the project on Google Earth by entering the following coordinate address in the Google Earth search box: 31°28’35.66″ S 70°28’19.51″ W). El Altar sits on sensitive permafrost areas which act as water reserves and as a basin regulator. Numerous rock glaciers line the designated project pit area, as well as extensive permafrost presence. Both are protected by Argentina’s National Glacier Law. meaning that approval for Stillwater’s El Altar project will be an uphill battle.
The Center for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA) which played a key role in getting Argentina’s glacier law approved in 2010, started inventorying glaciers and hard-to-see rock glaciers that rest beneath the surface of the earth at nearby El Pachón (Xstrata, XTA:London) and Los Azules (McEwen Mining, MUX:NYSE), and has already produced reports on both projects showing extensive glacier impacts of exploratory work. In these cases, CEDHA filed complaints to the Australian government for Xstrata Copper’s El Pachón and Filo Colorado Projects and to the CSR Extractive Industries Ombudsman for McEwen’s Los Azules project. Both complaints are under review and mediation at present.
Peregrine Metals, the previous project owner, bought out by Stillwater describes the project area in a 2010 Technical Reportas, “high mountain glacial geomorphology … Rock glaciers are evident at the higher elevations.” (Technical Report 2010, sect. 5.5.1.) Those rock glaciers are in fact inside the mineral deposit/pit area (see picture). The Technical Report also reveals that Peregrine actually drilled into glaciers in exploratory work already carried out at the project. That’s illegal byArgentina’s newly enacted glacier law.
For more information:
tel:+54 9 351 507 8376
Jorge Daniel Taillant
Centro de Derechos Humanos y Ambiente (CEDHA)