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21 Aug 2020

Independent Catholic News

Argentina: Community takes stand against Canadian multinational plan to build huge mine

6 August 2020

…Communities in southern Argentina are protesting against plans by Canadian multinational company Pan American Silver to build a large scale open-pit metal mining operation. This project will pollute the land and destroy the agriculture and livestock of the Mapuche Tehuelche indigenous peoples who live on the plateau…I am Father Tono, a Salesian priest in the mission of the north central plateau of Chubut province, Southern Argentina. I live here and I know the reality and the people with their faces worked by time, by age and by the severity of the weather and the elements. Many have worked in the fields, have lived in the face of the wind and snow, the sun and the drought… they have been born, lived and aged on the meseta…Aboriginal communities, supported by Convention 169 of the World Labour Organization, endorsed by Argentina national Government, demand prior consultation to this type of extractive developments. The communities that are part of the Mapuche Tehuelche indigenous peoples on the plateau are demanding total respect to their decisions…I fully support the popular initiative that seeks to unsettle legislators, so that once and for all they discover the strength of popular decision and legislate in favour of the people, confirming respect and human use of water, land and air, and that they are not in the hands of companies that can loot and pollute. Water is worth more than gold, water supports life. No means no!...