|Petition Against Pascua-Lama Gold Mine|
|Netlore Archive: Email petition expresses opposition to a Barrick Gold Corporation mining project in the Andean region of Pascua-Lama calling for the removal of glaciers that supply water to local farmers|
Email example contributed by Betsy M., 16 May 2006:
In the Valle de San Felix, the purest water in Chile runs from 2 rivers, fed by 2 glaciers.
Water is a most precious resource, and wars will be fought for it.
Indigenous farmers use the water, there is no unemployment, and they provide the second largest source of income for the area.
Under the glaciers has been found a huge deposit of gold, silver and other minerals. To get at these, it would be necessary to break, to destroy the glaciers - something never conceived of in the history of the world - and to make 2 huge holes, each as big as a whole mountain, one for extraction and one for the mine's rubbish tip.
The project is called PASCUA LAMA. The company is called Barrick Gold.
The operation is planned by a multi-national company, one of whose members is George Bush Senior.
The Chilean Government has approved the project to start this year, 2006.
The only reason it hasn't started yet is because the farmers have got a temporary stay of execution.
If they destroy the glaciers, they will not just destroy the source of especially pure water, but they will permanently contaminate the 2 rivers so they will never again be fit for human or animal consumption because of the use of cyanide and sulphuric acid in the extraction process.
Every last gram of gold will go abroad to the multinational company and not one will be left with the people whose land it is. They will only be left with the poisoned water and the resulting illnesses.
The farmers have been fighting a long time for their land, but have been forbidden to make a TV appeal by a ban from the Ministry of the Interior.
Their only hope now of putting brakes on this project is to get help from international justice.
The world must know what is happening in Chile. The only place to start changing the world is from here.
We ask you to circulate this message amongst your friends in the following way.
Please copy this text, paste it into a new email adding your signature and send it to everyone in your address book. Please, will the 100th person to receive and sign the petition, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org to be forwarded to the Chilean Government.
No to Pascua Lama Open-cast mine in the Andean Cordillera on the Chilean-Argentine frontier.
We ask the Chilean Government not to authorize the Pascua Lama project to protect the whole of 3 glaciers, the purity of the water of the San Felix Valley and El Transito, the quality of the agricultural land of the region of Atacama, the quality of life of the Diaguita people and of the whole population of the region.
Signature, City, Country
Comments: Though one-sided, the facts are stated accurately enough. Based in Canada, the Barrick Gold Corporation is the world's largest gold mining operation, comprising 22 mines on four continents. According to press reports, former U.S. president George H. W. Bush joined the company's advisory council in 1995.
Years in the planning though long delayed due to environmental concerns, Barrick's Pascua-Lama project calls for the excavation of an open-pit gold and silver mine in the Andes Mountains in an area straddling the border between Chile and Argentina. It would require the "relocation" of some five acres of ice from three glaciers abutting the property to the site of a fourth glacier a few miles away. Local residents and environmental groups say this would pose a threat to the ecosystem and contaminate local water supplies, potentially harming agriculture and quality of life in the region.
The company insists the environment will not be harmed, though it has taken out an insurance policy of sorts in the form of an agreement to spend US$3 million per year for the next two decades on local residents and projects "as a trade off for potential environmental damage," the Santiago Times reported last year.
In May 2006, Barrick claimed the project was "on track for final approval by the Chilean government," public opposition notwithstanding.
Armchair activists are advised to consider that passing around email petitions is, by its very nature, just about the least effective means of political protest conceivable. For example, participants have no way of knowing whether the email address designated for collecting signatures is even valid, let alone adequately supervised to ensure the information is collated and passed on to the proper authorities. Moreover, the same texts with identical rosters of names get copied, re-copied, and forwarded time and time again, resulting in redundancies on a mass scale. Who do you suppose if anyone is actually taking the trouble to edit these out?
Pro or con, those seeking a more direct means of making their views on this issue known can contact the President of Chile and the Chilean parliament at the email addresses found here.
Sources and further reading:
Barrick Says Pascua-Lama on Track
Reuters, 24 May 2006
Future Uncertain for Chile's Pascua-Lama Gold Mine
Santiago Times, 10 January 2006
Gold Mining Project Threatens Andean Glaciers
Tierramerica.com, 18 June 2005
Chile's Environmental Commission Opposes Glacier Removal Plan
Santiago Times, 1 June 2005
Bush-Barrick Connection Probed
University of Toronto Varsity News, 14 October 1997
Say 'No' to the Project 'Pascua-Lama'
Web petition site
Last updated: 06/01/06