Quick update, 12 February: Responsible Mining in Action

By , February 12, 2012

The most recent news to report is that CODELCO and its partner  are still happily and illegally- drilling away in the Mandariyacos concession..  The government has paid no attention at all to a letter sent by the Parish government asking work be stopped until all the irregularities surrounding the concession be investigated. The letter was sent BEFORE, Codelco and his partner, moved equipment in to start exploration.  Also, they have prevented, on more than one occasion,  human rights and international observers from visiting the sites they exploring.

Not too long ago we got a hold of the amended Environmental Impact Study and were surprised, not by the fact that it had so many mistakes, but that the erroneous and made up information was so sloppily presented to the Ministry of the Environment, who quickly approved it.  The government loves to talk about Responsible Mining.  With officials like these…..

Examples?  The updated study, which was meant to address 28 points of contention brought up the the same Ministry of the Environment, said most homes in Magdalena Bajo (one of the communities within the area of influence) lacked private bathrooms and had no electricity.  In fact, over 90% of the homes have both services.  The authors of the study also got the ethnic composition, as well as migration patterns of the El Paraiso community completely wrong.

Needless to say, following the trajectory of arrogance so omnipresent in the  Correa government, the amended study was not socialized with the communities to validate the information. This is becoming the standard procedure:  Start off with a very bad environmental study.  Government asks for clarification and clarifications.  Approve without further socialization or on-the-ground validation. .

You might think these are small mistakes, but they point to a lack of concern about following the law, and carrying out worthwhile studies.  The Ministry of the Environment seems to be saying to the mining companies, it doesn’t matter what the studies contain or leave out, WE WILL APPROVE THEM.

That may be so, but the arrogance carries the risk of backlash from communities.  Wonder not then, when communities lose patience and faith with the legal channels of dissent available to them, and choose other methods of protecting their rights.




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