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Thursday, June 22, 2006

FEATURE: Glacial Gold Rush

I occasionally get appeal emails sent from friends and this one caught my interest recently.

In Chile there is a region where indigenous farmers use the water derived from two glaciers. There is no unemployment and the farmers provide the second largest source of income for the area.

Sadly for them the glaciers have deposits of gold, silver and other minerals lying underneath them. And predictably a company now wishes to extract those deposits.

Despite the fact that the world should be doing everything in its power to preserve the ice we have left for obvious climate reasons this project just stinks for so many other reasons.

To extract the minerals requires breaking, and almost certainly in the long term destroying, the glaciers.

Two huge holes each as big as a whole mountain will be made: one for extraction and one for the mine's garbage.

The project is PASCUA LAMA and the Chilean Government has now approved the project to start this year, 2006. Apparently it is not too late for the sane amongst us to act though.

The only reason it hasn't started yet is because the farmers are awaiting a ruling from Argentina.

If Barrick et al go ahead and mine underneath these glaciers they will not just destroy the source of pure water for these people but they will also apparently contaminate the two rivers due to the extraction process.

Every last gram of gold will go abroad to the multinational company and not one cent will be left with the people whose land it is.

They will only be left with the poisoned water and the resulting illnesses.

Barrick claim that their: vision is to be the world’s best gold mining company by finding, acquiring, developing, and producing quality reserves in a safe, profitable and socially responsible manner.

Uhm, right. Socially responsible?

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. Uhm why? Their only hope now of putting the brakes on this project is to get help from the international community. And that means you!

Click here to act now.

Green Hugs


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