Barrick Gold Canada's biggest Gold miner, owned by long time Conservative backer Peter Munk, is in trouble in Chile where it wants to melt glaciers for water for its gold mining operations.Barrick says Pascua Lama on track
As with other Canadian Gold mining companies, cyanide is a major source of environmental toxins that the population around mines are exposed to. And the record of Canadian miners is not good when it comes to cyanide leaks. The closed lined cyanide ponds have had disastorous leaks. Like the Cambior mining disaster in the South American country of Guyana.
CorpWatch: Barrick Gold Strikes Opposition in South America
Barrick Gold, a powerful multinational already notorious for its dealings in North America, Australia and Africa, plans to extract an estimated 500,000 kilograms of gold (along with silver, copper and mercury) from the site over a 20 year period. Before doing so, however, the company will relocate significant parts of the Toro 1, Toro 2 and Esperanza, three giant Andean glaciers. Barrick hopes to transfer the three glaciers to an area with similar surface characteristics and elevation by merging the three into the larger Guanaco glacier.
The anticipated environmental impact, coupled with the removal of a major source of water for surrounding communities, has local Chileans up in arms. But Barrick Gold appears un-phased by the opposition. After all, Pascua Lama is one of the largest foreign investments in Chile in recent years, totaling US$1.5 billion.
FUTURE UNCERTAIN FOR CHILE’S PASCUA LAMA GOLD MINE
Presidential Candidates Voice Doubts About The Project
Battle over gold under glaciers is far from over
Canadian company vows not to move ice, but some Chileans still concerned
SANTIAGO, Chile - As the world’s largest gold mining company, Barrick Gold Corp. of Canada is used to thinking big.
So perhaps it wasn’t all that shocking that the company planned to relocate three huge ice fields — Barrick hates to call them glaciers — to dig for gold high up on the spine of the Andes mountains.
Oceana, Greenpeace and other environmental groups have raised an outcry over the proposed open pit mine, and Barrick countered with a multimillion-dollar lobbying campaign seeking Chile’s approval for the $1.5 billion Pascua Lama project.
And even if the glaciers are preserved, some Chileans fear the open pit mine will contaminate their water or make their rivers run dry. Antonia Fortt, an environmental engineer with Oceana, said “the fears about cyanide are justified because this chemical is used to separate the gold from the sterile material, rock and dust, it comes mixed with.”
Barrick counters that the project has been designed to ensure the continued flow of unpolluted water into the valley. The cyanide will be kept in a closed, lined area, and after it’s used to extract the gold, it will be collected and destroyed, spokesman Vince Borg said from Toronto.
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And Barrick which now owns Placer Mines, faces law suits over cyanide spillage in a number of countries. So their assurances to the Chileans should be taken with huge doses of salt.
Protesters vow to continue gold mine protest
Environmentalists are continuing to picket a New South Wales gold mine over the use of cyanide, which they claim will permanently poison the local water supply.
The Lake Cowal open pit mine, in the state's central west, began processing recently but operations were shut down yesterday and a delivery of cyanide has reportedly been delayed.
Eight protesters have been charged with trespassing but Graham Dunstan from Cyanide Watch says the protest will continue until the mine is closed.
"This mining company has been granted water leases by the NSW Government to pump up 3,650 megalitres a year for this cyanide operation," he said.
"They leave this water behind permanently poisoned. Now in a time of drought giving people the equivalent of a Dubbo's water supply each year is profligate."
The company running the mine, Barrick Gold, says it has all the environmental approvals but is not commenting today.Philippines Orders Cleanup of Mines Before Rains
MANILA - The Philippines said on Tuesday it had ordered owners of two mining areas in the country to clean up and improve their infrastructures before the start of the rainy season.