As reported by local press today, Greenpeace activists are taking creative leaps to call for the closure of Canadian company Barrick Gold’s Veladero mine in San Juan Province in light of the massive cyanide spill at the site last September.
Volunteers from the cities of Mendoza, Mar del Plata, Paraná, Bahía Blanca, Rosario, Posadas, Salta, Córdoba and Buenos Aires partook in a variety of activities designed to make people aware of just how harmful mining is to the environment.
“Volunteers from all over the country are working together to demand the mine’s closure. Veladero is located in a periglacial environment so in order to comply with the Glaciar Law, Barrick cannot continue exploiting resources and continue putting those ecosystems in danger, like it did when more than 1 million liters of cyanide solution spilled last year,” Soledad Sede, a Greenpeace activist, told press.
(Argentina’s Glacier Protection Law prohibits the contamination of “periglacial,” meaning close to a glacial, landscapes which are considered vital national resources.)
In Rosario, the activists simulated offering liquid cyanide cocktails at a bar, while over in Mendoza they acted out scenes in which officials watched environmental disasters as if they were movies.
In Salta and Bahía Blanca, the volunteers handed out bottles of “contaminated” water, while those in Paraná pretended to fish for gold coins while simulating the pollution of the waterfront.
These acts of protest have had a massive impact, adding 35,000 more signatures (and counting) to the petition to close the mine down at www.chauveladero.org. At the time of writing, there are over 130,000 signatures calling for the mine’s closure. Twenty days ago, 35 activists were arrested in the City of Buenos Aires for protesting peacefully and unveiling a large anti-mining banner.
Last September, arose after 1,000,000 liters of liquid cyanide destroyed vast swathes of the San Juan countryside after an open valve let the poison seep into the river basin.
Cyanide is a deadly chemical which has been used as a deadly weapon and a tool for mass murder, but it probably killed Hitler… so is it all that bad?
Yes. It’s really awful. Look at the before and after pictures above.
The, quite literal, fallout saw nine Barrick Gold executives prosecuted but amazingly only one, ONE, of them lost their jobs. Last month it was reported that 4,000 jobs were on the line if the decision was taken to close down the mine, which resembles some kind of scar on the landscape. Having produced 722,000 ounces of gold in 2014, it’s clear Veladero is a valuable economic asset but the environmental costs by far and away outweigh any amount of gold.
The Toronto-based company will be pulling up roughly 20 tons of waste for every wedding ring produced, and while there’s no denying the yellow stuff is nice ‘n’ pretty, it’s hard to justify such extreme environmental damage.
The wordily named United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) has found that the cyanide spill “won’t affect local towns” but admitted there was, no shit, some environmental damage nearby.
It’s all a little fishy, except for the rivers which are now void of life, since UNOPS was paid US $2,147,346 by the Argentine government in 2014 and, guess what, the technicians working on the report also work for a Barrick Gold laboratory.
The government itself has launched a campaign to try and clean up mega-mining’s filthy image by waving a shiny bit of tinfoil which reads “40,000 jobs,” but the truth is mining isn’t a sustainable industry and the next disaster, unfortunately, won’t be that far off. Shell spilled 90,000 gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico today, if that’s anything to go by.