— Greenpeace MDQ (@greenpeacemdq) June 9, 2016
“This morning from the Obelisco, we showed what 180,000 people are demanding of the President: #MacriShutDownVeladero”
Activists have been protesting against Canada-based mining company Barrick Gold’s Veladero mine for years. The 2010 sanctioning of Argentina’s Glacier Protection Law prohibiting the contamination of glacial and periglacial (meaning close to glacial) landscapes seemed to be one step in the right direction, but the mine continued to operate. Last September’s incident, which saw 1 million cubic liters of cyanide solution spill into the local Jáchal River, appeared to finally be environmentally destructive enough to garner national attention. Environment Minister Sergio Bergman even stated that the mine’s closure might be a possibility.
According to the Center for Human Rights and the Environment, Argentina was the first country in the world to enact a law protecting glaciers. The law aims to restore the importance of water reserves in the public eye as well as decrease the risks that mining operations pose. It allows for the inspection of areas that requires this kind of protection.
The Glacier Protection Law was met with much resistance and pressure from mining companies. In 2010, this pressure led to a federal court judge suspending the implementation of the law within the province of San Juan. But the law was restored again in 2012.