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Mining project in Valle de San Felix, Chile

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  • Mining project in Valle de San Felix, Chile

    I received this email note today and thought there might be some members of the TG community who would be interested:

    In the Valle de San Felix, the purest water in Chile runs from 2 rivers, fed by 2 glaciers.
    Indigenous farmers use the water, there is no unemployment , and they provide the second largest source of income for the area.

    Under the glaciers has been found a huge deposit of gold , silver and other minerals.
    To get at these, it would be necessary to destroy the glaciers - something never previously conceived of.

    The project is called PASCUA LAMA.
    The company is called Barrick Gold.
    The operation is planned by a multi-national company, and the Chilean Government has approved the project to start this year.

    The only reason it hasn't started yet is because the farmers have got a temporary stay of execution.

    The Pascua Lama project will cause irreversible environmental damage, and every gramme of gold will go abroad to the multinational company.
    The people who live on the land will be left with no usable water.

    The farmers have been fighting a long time for their land , but have been forbidden to make a TV appeal by a ban from the Ministry of the Interior.

    Their only hope now of putting brakes on this project is to get help from international justice.

    People should know what is happening in Chile, and the only place to start changing the world is from here.

    Please send this message to everyone you know.


    And please make a point of visiting http://www.barrick.com so you can witness how some corporations handle environmental and social responsibility. The website has no information on the Pascua Lama project, just a link to a site in another language. If you click on 'contact us', you'll go to a page where you can click on 'Environmental responsibility contact'. Fill out the form and let them know how impressed you are with their stonewalling tactics.

    Have a lovely day.
    My thought is that the rights of the individual people and individual families, as well as the "rights" of the environment, are being violated for the sake of a collective good. Nothing new there; things go that way. But given this articulation of the situation, I'm skeptical that the "collective" involved here has anything at all to do with the individuals whose world is being up-ended. Were I in the situation of the local farmers, I hope that people would be concerned for my welfare.

  • #2
    Re: Mining project in Valle de San Felix, Chile

    You rule Derdmeh!
    .

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    • #3
      Re: Mining project in Valle de San Felix, Chile

      Collective good being defined as profit for the Chilean government and private international investors. Sad.

      The problem has always been determining the good of which collective.
      In game handle: Steel Scion
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      • #4
        Re: Mining project in Valle de San Felix, Chile

        Originally posted by Steeler View Post
        Collective good being defined as profit for the Chilean government and private international investors. Sad.

        The problem has always been determining the good of which collective.
        And we're seeing the same thing here in the USA with the recent Eminent Domain decision...
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        • #5
          Re: Mining project in Valle de San Felix, Chile

          Of course, they never tell the whole story in online chain letters...

          More to the story

          I especially like this quote:
          Statement: "there is no unemployment ..."
          Fact: Contrary to this statement, unemployment levels in Region III are among the highest in Chile -- the most recent statistics according to the Chilean Statistics Agency reveal rates in the valley in question to be approximately 18%. The mayors representing the four municipalities and most of the community leaders in the Huasco Valley have vocally expressed their support of Pascua-Lama indicating that they believe Barrick will conduct an environmentally responsible project and the generation of economic benefits are needed for the long term sustainable development of the region.

          As an illustration of the lack of employment opportunities, Barrick has received over 50,000 applications for jobs. Chileans in the Region III and Argentineans from San Juan are looking for meaningful employment opportunities and the ability to support their families. Human beings deserve the opportunity to make a decent livelihood.

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          • #6
            Re: Mining project in Valle de San Felix, Chile

            Speaking of Chile, Pinochet just died. I hope I speak for everyone when I say good riddance.

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            • #7
              Re: Mining project in Valle de San Felix, Chile

              Originally posted by thebleakaffinity View Post
              Speaking of Chile, Pinochet just died. I hope I speak for everyone when I say good riddance.
              amen, with the caveat that he should have died in jail.

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              • #8
                Re: Mining project in Valle de San Felix, Chile

                The source of mountain streams is snow-melt. But snow-melt is a seasonal thing, with the snow-caps being replenished annually from the warm, wet ocean water being forced over mountains. This cools the air and condenses out the water (also causing the rain shadow effect). Removing a glacier will not stop this seasonal process.

                If the glacier were the source of the water, it would have melted away a long time ago.

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                • #9
                  Re: Mining project in Valle de San Felix, Chile

                  In short, the next time you get an internet chain letter: Assume its a hoax until research says otherwise! ;)

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                  • #10
                    Re: Mining project in Valle de San Felix, Chile

                    Two presuppositions have to be in place before anyone can stake out a defense of Barrick with an easy conscience. The first is that mining operations in Chile have been an unproblematic source of fair labor in that country. Thatís not clearly true. The countryís major source of income at the time of Pinochet was its copper mines, and the copper miners were an instrumental part of Pinochetís rise to power. I think a decent wage is the right of a hard worker, but there is a duty to preserve the larger context in which that work and that wage are possible. Employees of the Chilean copper industry in the early 70ís supported Pinochet against President Allende because they wanted to protect their decent wage, and in so doing they contributed to a massive perversion of the larger context in which their work was nested. The country belongs to the people, not to a dictator; I think everyone would agree to that. It seems to me naÔve to say that massive numbers of job applicants prove anything about the virtues of a mining operation. Furthermore, it seems to me irresponsible to claim that there are massive numbers of applicants without citing your sources.

                    The second presupposition is that the mining operation will not severely impact the larger physical environment. Iím wondering how far one has to go to argue against this assumption successfully. As far as I can tell, this operation requires gigantic and violent deformation of the land. If you look at Barrickís defense against this chain letter, youíll notice that there is a 400 point list of precautionary measures the Chilean government has required of the company. Thatís a lot of precaution, because thereís a lot of destruction involved.

                    As far as the idea that the glacier has nothing to do with the water supply, or that somehow the water supply is supposed to be derived from glacial ice stored up from pre-historic times, I think no one was saying that. From Barrick: ďThe approval of the project in Chile (Resolution - RCA 024/2006) lists more than 400 conditions which Barrick must meet to be able to build and operate the Pascua-Lama Project, including very stringent commitments and controls for the protection of glaciers/ice fields and water resources.Ē The company has agreed (in some sense of "agree") to protect glaciers, ice fields, and water resources because they are all part of the same system.

                    I write this not because I am an expert in these matters. My research amounts to having watched one four-hour documentary on the overthrow of Allende and a few google searches. Iím writing this only to point out that it is exceptionally naÔve to think that the interests of a multi-national mining company in Chile can be justified by the fact that theyíre able to attract people looking for and needing work.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Mining project in Valle de San Felix, Chile

                      But is it not equally naive to condemn their actions based on the fact that someone sent out a chain letter over the internet?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Mining project in Valle de San Felix, Chile

                        That's how I make all MY decisions in life. Which is why I'm now a Nigerian Prince.
                        In game handle: Steel Scion
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                        • #13
                          Re: Mining project in Valle de San Felix, Chile

                          When I read discussions like this right after reading a discussion about the growing wealth gap, I smile. It seems that whenever some villager is presented with the opportunity to move from the stone age to a 1700s European lifestyle, some endangered rat or a pristine glacier becomes much more important than fixing his wealth gap. I suppose the only environmentally-acceptable solution is for me to just write a check to the IRS. Doesn't help me or the villager but that's not really the point is it?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Mining project in Valle de San Felix, Chile

                            All people with whom you disagree are united in common cause to piss you off, leejo. It's time you knew that.
                            In game handle: Steel Scion
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                            • #15
                              Re: Mining project in Valle de San Felix, Chile

                              Originally posted by Steeler View Post
                              That's how I make all MY decisions in life. Which is why I'm now a Nigerian Prince.
                              So it is you who have been sending me all those kind letters about the money you need to get out of the country. I´ll get around to send you my account number and 50 dollars in transfer fees right away....
                              --
                              VI VI VI - the number of the beast

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