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Several Barrick Chile´s top officers appeared in a national court which is aiming to determine the company´s intention in terms of the lack of compliance surrounding the building of the Pascua Lama mining project, which has caused serious environmental pollution.
The Assembly for Water of Huasco Alto, in Atacama, Chile, explains it clearly: "The intentionality, malice and bad faith from Barrick is unquestionable", they stated in a press release issued on January 29th, when the company´s authorities appeared in court. Barrick´s lack of compliance has resulted in the pollution of water sources of the area, affecting the agricultural activity of communities, which is fundamental for the local economy, among other things.
Pascua Lama is a gold and silver open pit mining project located over 4000 meters high, in the border between Chile and Argentina.
According to the statement by the Assembly for Water of Huasco Alto, Barrick´s authorities appeared in court in Santiago since failure to do so would be reason enough for their detention. They are: Eduardo Flores Zelaya, Pascua Lama´s executive director; Manuel Tejos, former regional general manager of Environmental Permits; Alejandra Vial, Environment and Permits Manager; Sergio Fuente, Pascua Lama´s legal representative. Meanwhile, the former Head of Water Resources, Susan Henry, rescheduled her appearance for Friday.
The communities demonstrated outside the court and reminded that the Canadian organization knew that their operation and lack of compliance would seriously affect the environment and livelihoods of the people.
Imagen: Assembly of Water of Huasco Alto
“Este triunfo de Uruguay debe ser un llamado urgente a analizar, revisar, renegociar o anular cuando corresponda todos los tratados bilaterales de comercio y de protección de inversiones que ha suscrito el país, antes de exponernos a nuevas demandas en las que podemos correr con distinta suerte que en la recién finalizada”.
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