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Heavy metal band(its)

8 January 2010

Another environmental activist has been murdered in the department of Cabañas. This follows by just five days the murder of Ramiro Rivera, another leader in the fight against gold-mining in that part of the country..

(Tim’s El Salvador Blog)

Never mind that several regional governors protested the high risk of water pollution and glacier depletion. Barrick wanted to mine, and Barrick got its way. It overrode the Argentine senate and house of deputies, not to mention the will of an entire people, and essentially stuck the president in its vest pocket. And to make sure that no pesky ministers tripped them up, they sent out thugs to threaten a former minister of the environment. Romina Picolotti, who was expelled from the government, tells how she received death threats, and threats against her children. Whom does she blame for these mysterious menaces? Who else but Barrick. The threats followed hot on the heels of her denunciations of Barrick’s polluting activities in the Argentine parliament!

(News of the Restless)

Chile’s largest gold mine, Pascua Lama, could face legal sanctions after Chile’s national water commission (DGA) reported that the company is failing to comply with Chile’s environmental laws.

The DGA last week petitioned regional environmental authorities in Chile’s Atacama Region III to file a legal complaint against the company. The DGA’s concerns emerged after a study into construction at Pascua Lama highlighted possible environmental damage to nearby glaciers.

Atacama Region governor Viviana Ireland confirmed on Tuesday that authorities would look into the issue.

(Santiago Times)

…plans for the open pit mine proposed by Canadian-owned Vista Gold Corporation are sparking opposition from environmentalists and residents. Critics contend that metals and chemicals used in the mining process could contaminate precious groundwater supplies, scar a fragile ecosystem and threaten public health. Further, they fear critical sea turtle and whale habitats could be jeopardized from the construction of a desalination plant designed to pipe in water for mining operations from a coastal site at Las Playitas.

The central Mexican state of San Luis Potosi is another front in the mining vs. environment battle. A long-running fight between local landowners and a national network of environmental and human rights activists on one side, and the Vancouver-based New Gold Incorporated on the other, almost came to a head last month when Mexico’s Secretariat for the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) revoked an operating permit for the company’s Cerro de San Pedro mine.


We USAnians owe a debt of gratitude to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  Thanks to his government’s policies, and its opposition to Parliament Bill C-300, which would force his country’s mining companies to adhere to basic human rights, environmental and heath standard, we’re no longer always the bad guys in Latin America.  With their record of environmental rape, murder, inimidation, labor heath and safety violations, and overt support for bribery (the Harper government also opposes bills that would make bribing foreign officials a crime under their laws), we almost look like normal people.  Almost, eh?

Well, welcome Canada to the big leagues!  Now you can be exploiters and imperialists too.

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