At a moment when mining doesn’t have the best public image in Argentina, to say the least — Barrick Gold’s massive spills of cyanide solution, anyone? — the San Juan Province’s Mining Ministry, which very much likes mining, released a series of children’s books to teach the province’s youths the advantages of the sector
and indoctrinate them to their will.
According to the ministry, the book’s goal is to “promote the sector and generate trust in it” and, in order to do so, they intend to introduce them in the province’s primary schools as of next year. The books thus become yet another example of just how strong the ties are between the provincial government and the mining sector.
This is hardly a surprise when you consider that gold and silver represent 73.5 percent of the province’s exports, according to a report about the province’s economic activity released by the Finance Ministry in August.
The three books — called “Rock and Mountain,” “Carlota the Drop,” and “Trash the Little Witch,” were written by Alejandra Araya, who is married to the head of the province’s mining chamber, Jaime Berge. Berge doesn’t hide his belief that the activity does far more good than harm: after Barrick Gold spilled more than one million litters of cyanide solution in several rivers in San Juan, he minimized its environmental impact — it was the worst accident of the kind in Argentine mining history — by saying that people could drink “half a glass of cyanide solution” without it having any effect on their health.
The grass in the fields that turned into wastelands after being in touch with the solution beg to differ (but, hey, they’re not human so who knows?).
Araya very much shares the same outlook on mining. Her initiative was introduced in the province’s book fair under the name “MineNiños, construyendo confianza” (mining kids, building trust) and are aimed at kids between 5 and 8-years-old. And the content is even creepier than the name. In “Rock and Mountain” Rock, the main character, cries at the side of a road because it is supposed to be put in a machine to be processed, but didn’t want to be separated from its friend, Mountain.
Mountain, however, convinces Rock to get into the truck with all its friends and go to the machine, explaining that “it’s the only way you can transform the world and benefit a lot of people.”
“Everything that surrounds humans is mining, Rock friend,” says mountain. “My loins are full of wealth so humans will be able to benefit from me. There’s nothing to fear.”
Only those who will do something to fear say that, Mountain. Everyone knows that.
Check out the full, gripping story of Rock and Mountain by clicking here.