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21 Aug 2020

The Ecologist

Conflict and harm at Pan American Silver

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4 March 2020

…The company is profiting in areas where surrounding communities have faced militarization, criminalization, violence, harassment, and threats. Environmental pollution has been documented at several of its mines, which affect or threaten important water supplies. Labour conflicts have also arisen along with occupational accidents. PAS has bought large silver and gold projects despite the broad and widely recognised opposition of affected communities to mining activities. In 2009, the company acquired the Navidad project in the province of Chubut, Argentina where open-pit metal mining and the use of cyanide is prohibited by law since 2003, following a local referendum and massive protests. Local environmental coalitions denounce that the company has tried to pressure local, provincial and national authorities to enable mining to go ahead…Possible and actual environmental impacts of PAS´s mine projects are a source of concern among affected communities in diverse countries, especially given the danger that mining poses to water supplies and the wellbeing of these populations. As well, in a couple of cases, there is documentation of the corporate capture of environmental authorities, fostering impunity for environmental harm…In Argentina at the Manatial Espejo mine, two young operators were killed in 2015 and another in June 2019. In Bolivia, during the latest labour dispute over the San Vicente mine, the unión declared a “state of emergency” given the lack of security equipment and deteriorating working conditions in the underground operation. As of 2018, PAS had over 4,000 employees and contract workers who do not belong to any union or labour association, or about 57 percent of its total workforce…