Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Chile Approves Glacier Gold Mine

file photo
by Staff Writers
Santiago, Chile (AFP) Feb 15, 2006
Chile Wednesday approved a controversial project by the world's leading gold producer, Barrick Gold, to tunnel for the precious metal underneath three glaciers in the northern Andes mountains.

The Pascua Lama project was unanimously approved by a regional environmental group after Barrick gave up on its original plan to destroy the three glaciers in the northern Atacama region in order to reach the underlying gold deposits.

Independent environmental groups vehemently opposed the original, 1.5 billion dollar project, fearing that the missing glaciers would dry up stream systems feeding towns and villages in the Huasco Valley below.

"After its environmental review of the Pascua Lama mining project, Atacama's Regional Environmental Committee (Corema) has decided to prevent any type of physical interaction with the glaciers," Atacama Governor Rodrigo Rojas told reporters on announcing the committee's decision.

He said the mining project would have to comply with "a series of rigurous measures" designed to protect the region's natural water supply, which would be monitored regularly for contamination.

With heaquarters in Toronto, Canada, international mining company Barrick Gold first proposed the Pascua Lama project in 2001, but abandoned it after gold prices fell. Three years later, the project was resurrected only to meet with staunch opposition to the glaciers' removal.

Despite the restrictions imposed on the mining project, which will now require digging tunnels under the glaciers to reach the estimated 17.6 million ounces of gold trapped in the rock, some environmentalists still have concerns.

"Who'll guarantee that the glaciers really won't be damaged," Huasco Valley Defense Committee president Mauricio Rios told AFP.

"Perhaps they won't be harmed directly, but the explosives and the dust in the air will have an impact. The glaciers are under a death sentence," he said, adding that he and other environmentalists will appeal the committe's decision.

Rios said the project would be brought to the attention of the National Environmental Committee and possibly to Chile's Justice Ministry.

"It's not over," he said.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links

Coal Mine Blast Kills 23 In North China
Beijing (AFP) Feb 02, 2006
A gas explosion killed 23 workers in a state-owned coal mine in northern China and more than 50 miners suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, state media and officials said Thursday.

  • Cornell, WCMC And LockMart To Create Plan To Manage Mass Casualties In Disasters
  • Experiment To Test Crisis Planning
  • US Hands Over Kashmir Relief Equipment To Pakistan
  • Damning Report Says Katrina Response A 'National Failure'

  • Antarctic Snow Inaccurate Temperature Archive
  • The Oceans As Carbon Dioxide Sinks: Increasing Our Understanding
  • Plant Enzyme Efficiency May Hold Key To Global Warming
  • Constructal Theory Predicts Global Climate Patterns In Simple Way

  • NASA Satellite Technology Helps Fight Invasive Plant Species
  • NASA, UNH Scientists Uncover Lost Maya Ruins From Space
  • Tandem Sat Data Add Depth To Canadian Wilderness Maps
  • NASA Awards Colorado Satellite Observation Grants

  • Walker's World: EU's Bold Caucasus Bid
  • Garbage Truck Industry Ponders Move To LNG
  • Nuclear Fusion On A Tabletop
  • China Energy Quest Not A Threat

  • Bird Flu Hits Western Europe
  • Bird Flue Hits Africa
  • 1,500 Cholera Cases In Flood-Hit Mozambique
  • Deadly Meningitis Outbreaks In Drought-Stricken Kenya, Uganda

  • Ohio Changes Its Mind Regarding Evolution
  • Darwin's Nightmare: Toxic Toad Evolves To Secure Supremacy
  • Spring Migration Of Pink-Footed Geese Under Threat
  • World Shark Attacks Dipped In 2005, Part Of Long-Term Trend

  • Chirac Lifts Warship Hurdle Ahead Of Asian Tour
  • A Microbial Biotechnology Prescription For Global Environmental Health
  • France Under Pressure To Bring Home Asbestos Warship
  • Orbital Receives Contract From US Navy For "Coyote" Sea-Skimming Target Missiles

  • Most Cave Art The Work Of Teens, Not Shamans
  • New Analysis Shows Three Human Migrations Out Of Africa
  • Brain Changes Significantly After Age Eighteen
  • Blue Light May Fight Fatigue

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement