Chile: court upholds suspension of Pascua Lama mine

On July 14 the three-member Appeals Court of Copiapó province in Chile’s northern Atacama region unanimously upheld its April 10 order suspending work at Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corporation‘s Pascua Lama mine until the company has adopted measures to repair current damage to the environment and to prevent further damage in the future. The court found that in its responses to the previous order the company “repeatedly” displayed “an obstinate attitude” and that it “doesn’t provide information on time and in proper form.” Pascua Lama is an open-pit gold, silver and copper mine under construction in the Andes on both sides of the border between Argentina and Chile. Five indigenous Diaguita communities had filed a complaint against the mine, charging that the construction had damaged glaciers near the site that provide water for area residents. The mine is also subject to a May 24 suspension ordered by Chile’s environmental regulator, Juan Carlos Monckeberg. (Associated Press, July 15, via Terra, Peru)

Despite the court victory, the Diaguita feel the decision doesn’t go far enough. They will probably appeal to the Supreme Court, one of their lawyers, Lorenzo Soto, told the Reuters wire service on July 18, to require Barrick to provide a new environmental impact statement. (Reuters, July 18)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 21.

See our last post on the crimes of Barrick Gold.