is another article about Argentina ruling against one of the largest mining
developments in the world. Add this to the Spanish mining strikes, the
Mexican silver strikes and Evo Morales’
nationalization, mining wealth is being pilfered by increasingly desperate
people or governments. Stick to already mined metal.)
Barrick shares slip after Argentine court ruling
The Canadian Press
Barrick Gold’s Pascua-Lama development is
the first bi-national mining project in the world, spanning the boundary
between Argentina and Chile. (Barrick)
of Barrick Gold Corp. slipped Wednesday after the
Canadian mining giant suffered a legal reversal that may affect development
of the company’s Pascua Lama project on the border between Argentina
company’s stock closed down 63 cents, or 1.6 per cent, at $38.87.
Supreme Court decided Tuesday to remove injunctions that have blocked key
parts of a law to protect glaciers. Barrick argued
it shouldn’t need to provide the national government with new
law requires a thorough inventory of Argentina’s glaciers as well as
“periglacial” areas where the ice has
recently retreated but water remains below the surface. Together, the areas
provide much of the country’s fresh water.
law also gives the national government a powerful tool to regulate the mining
industry, which until now has been handled by provincial governments whose
priorities sometimes clash with people living downstream from the mines.
Barrick maintains that it does not mine on
glaciers and that it has already persuaded the provinces it will contain any
environmental damage from gold mining, which requires lots of fresh water and
a mix of toxic chemicals.
until now, Barrick’s lawsuits have
preemptively blocked requirements to provide environmental impact statements
to the national government.
ruling could have a major impact on Pascua Lama, the world’s
highest-altitude gold mine being developed on both sides of the
Chile-Argentine border. Barrick said the $5 billion
project already has found nearly 18 million ounces of proven gold reserves,
more than the company’s Veladero mine,
another open-pit mine nearby that is already in production.
including Greenpeace Argentina and the Foundation for Environmental and
Natural Resources cheered the ruling as a key step. The high court has yet to
decide the constitutionality of the overall law, or rule on the
environmentalists’ requests for an immediate halt to Barrick’s high-altitude mining.
Barrick did not immediately comment on
Tuesday’s decision, but in asking for an injunction against several
aspects of the law it said enforcing the measures would unfairly
“create a state of uneasiness and uncertainty” surrounding its
parts of the law Barrick objected to require the
national government to define what a glacier is, inventory the remaining
glacial and periglacial areas in Argentina,
prohibit any activities that destroy glaciers, ban mining in glacial and periglacial areas, and require companies to provide
environmental impact statements at the national level.
by lower courts that blocked those measures were fundamentally flawed,
because the requirements provide for the very certainty that Barrick Gold claims it wants, the Supreme Court justices
said. The glacier inventory “will make known exactly which areas are
protected by law,” they wrote.
Barrick and other mining companies as well as
the mountainous provinces that directly benefit from their control of the
industry have challenged the law on constitutional grounds, saying the
national government should have no role in regulating mining. But the
justices said that “the law must be applied its constitutional validity