[fyeg_gen-l] Fw: [icgg-ml]: large scale mining in South America

Stefan Buzar sbuzaro at nimbus.geog.ox.ac.uk
Tue Jan 21 20:31:50 CET 2003

Sorry if this is just another email hoax, but he might have a point, at least it looks like that based on the links and the information provided.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Andrés M. Dimitriu 
To: icgg-ml 
Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 2:30 AM
Subject: [icgg-ml]: large scale mining in South America

Dear colleagues and friends,
I'm writing you because of my deep concern regarding a huge mining project in the Andes. This is not about a particular mining project, although there are frightening procedures being used to extract gold using cyanide, for instance. No, I'm talking about all of the Andes between Argentina and Chile, a border area of over 2,000 miles. (Please visit http://www.difrol.cl/Mapa-anexoII.htm to understand the actual size of this marked area. This map will also give you an idea of the magnitude of the almost furtive mining treaty (comparable to the MAI by the way it was arranged) signed between officials of both governments in 1996, which has since been complemented with a bundle of convenient laws with supplementary benefits for this specific sector in 1999.)

The ambition of the mining industry and its local associates is to transform the region in nothing less than one of the largest mining districts on earth. No effective requirements to carry out consultations with the affected population were included. Not even National Parks or Natural Reserves are safe from this plan. Mountains, forests, lakes, valleys, rivers, fields, factories and people appear to be just irrelevant obstacles placed between some ardent shareholders and their money. Direct or secondary benefits for the local economy have been accordingly placed at the lowest imaginable rank. Mining under the pressure of fierce international competition, combined with a weak regulatory framework and the widely known social and structural conditions of Argentina, on the other hand, could and most probably will be used as an excuse to utilize the worst possible (read most profitable) environmental standards and working conditions. So far no conclusive evidence of exceptions to this foreseeable behavior have been found in any of the planned mining ventures.

If successful, the consequences of this transnational strategy would be disastrous, irreversibly affecting the environment, the economy and the whole society of one of the least contaminated regions of the world. A growing number of individuals and social organizations - including a large coalition of NGOs, universities, and city administrations- have already rejected this plan, as well as the coercive and technocratic, if not corrupt, characteristics of its execution. This refusal includes the so-called sustainable mining programs and similar forms of public distraction, especially when linked to green-washed PR strategies of large-scale mining companies.
The people of Patagonia, a multicultural society with rich traditions and strong international ties, has far better plans for this wonderful region of Argentina than just allowing the massive extraction of resources in order to satisfy anonymous, unpredictable and insatiable markets. Nor can we afford to support hunger for profit regardless of the consequences. This aware citizenship is determined to construct a democratic, local-based economy, certainly open to other economies, but in reciprocal terms. Tourism alone, including the associated provision of multiple quality products and services, production of organic food, scientific and educational activities, arts and diverse cultural expressions, offer far better opportunities for its population and visitors than this kind of thoughtless, speculative and devastating interest. 

Sending emails or letters might be one of the possible ways of preventing the expansion of large scale mining in Patagonia. You may also explore additional, more effective methods to support a fair and sustainable economy of this region within the range of your personal or institutional influence. Please involve yourself and your organization in the protection of this unique place of South America.

Prof. Andrés M. Dimitriu*
Director, Department of Communication
Faculty of Law and Social Sciences, 
Universidad Nacional del Comahue 
Mendoza y Perú
8332, General Roca
Phone (54) 2941-433668/70

Laws which protect profits of the mining sector in Argentina, failing to protect its own economy and the environment: 
La Ley de Inversión Minera 24.196, Ley de Ordenamiento Minero 24. 224, Ley del Acuerdo Federal Minero 24.228, Ley La Ley de Financiamiento y Devolución del IVA 24. 402, La Ley de Protección Ambiental 24. 585, Ley de Política Ambiental Nacional 25.675. 

Please send copies or letters of support to 
Sociedad Ecológica Regional ser at elbolson.com 

Some related links with general and basic information on consequences of mining. 

http://www.wrm.org.uy (search for "mining")

Page of the coalition of NGOs' with information on mining projects in Esquel, Province of Chubut, 

* Published works on Patagonia, communication and tourism (in Spanish) 
Magallanes en Bermudas: turismo, organización especial y crisis, in Nueva Sociedad Nº 171, Caracas Jan/Feb 2001, available on line in http://www.unq.edu.ar/theomai/artDimitriu003.htm 
Producir y consumir lugares: reflexiones sobre la Patagonia como mercancía, published in the international journal "eptic on line" (Political Economy of Communication and Information Technologies) <http://www.eptic.com.br/revista11.htm> Sept./November 2002. 
Key words: Communication - tourism - political ecology - place commodification.
Newspaper article, Diario Rio Negro, Nov. 23/02 (Dinamita, dólares y dolores de cabeza en la cordillera) <http://www.rionegro.com.ar/arch200211/o23j01.html>
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