Chile: Mining impacts on indigenous Diaguita Agricultural Community


Photo credit: OLCA

Oxfam America is supporting a partner organization, Observatorio Ciudadano, in undertaking a community-based human rights impact assessment focusing on the impacts of two large scale mining projects on the rights of the Diaguita Agricultural Community of Los Huascoaltinos (CADHA).  The Diaguita are a legally recognized indigenous people in Chile. The CADHA is composed of 260 families, comprising about 1,200 people, descendants of the Pueblo Indians of Huasco Alto and most are small farmers and herders of sheep and goats.  They had declared their land as a natural reserve, or under indigenous territory conservation.  The first project, Pascua Lama, involving Barrick Gold, is a binational mining project of Chile and Argentina. The mine site is under construction but the project has been stalled since July 2013 by the courts due to environmental breaches. El Morro, involving Goldcorp and New Gold, is currently undergoing environmental assessment and consultation.  Both projects seriously affect the hydrological system of Diaguita’s territory and could endanger the economic, social and cultural rights of the community.   Eight more projects of similar size are also foreseen. Only environmental impact assessments have been done in country to date. The human rights impact assessment is currently underway and is consistent with the work done so far by Observatorio, which advocates for indigenous rights in the territory. (Summary from Oxfam America)