ISSN 2330-717X

Argentina: Loncopué Rejects Mining


Villagers in Loncopué, in the western Neuquén province in Argentina, overwhelmingly rejected on June 3rd large-scale open-pit mining near their village, in the first binding referendum of its kind in Argentina.

Eighty-two percent of the more than 2,500 villagers who participated in the referendum voted in favor of a municipal order to ban mining within the 8,000 hectares (19,760 acres) of the village’s urban area.

Since 2008, the village of some 7,000 people had been fighting a copper project by Emprendimientos Mineros, backed by Chinese investors and the state-run Neuquén Mining Corporation. That year Loncopué residents filed a suit against the provincial government alleging the contract was null and void because the local indigenous community’s rights were not respected. In September 2009, provincial courts halted the project until it could investigate.

The Neuquén Superior Court rejected an appeal by the provincial government and said the indigenous community would have to be consulted before the project could proceed. The mining company’s attempt to block the vote was also rejected by the courts.

“A government that answers to the interests of the oil and mining companies, a government that does not listen to its people, had a lesson in democracy today,” said Cristian Hendrickse, a member of the Loncopué community assembly.

He said the vote echoed a similar struggle in Esquel, in the southern Chubut province, where in 2003, 80 percent of residents rejected a gold project by Canada’s Meridian Gold. While that vote was not binding, the company ended up abandoning the project.

The provincial government is now trying to have the court declare the Loncopué vote unconstitutional, arguing that the local government has no power to call a binding referendum.

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Latinamerica Press is a product of Comunicaciones Aliadas, a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Lima, Peru, specializing in the production of information and analysis about events across Latin America and the Caribbean with a focus on rights, while strengthening the communications skills of local social leaders.

One thought on “Argentina: Loncopué Rejects Mining

  • June 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    I was taught by a good (Christian) family years ago; as a portion of rearing me, to never allow a dollar to speak louder than a human or any live creature.
    My family and community wanted me to grow up and be a good man. My Mother often stated as long as I treated women like I treated her then I would have no problem with finding a mate for life.
    Marriage is like gamling … with so many social economic factors to relate to; and laws conveniently predetermined by lawyers and judges that facilitate an invironment where it is too easy to tear, a family apart or what someone once stated that God put together.
    That calls for the laws of physics I would think…lthat are not recognized, but for how to control people in the united States…like they are brain washed.The act is not even illegal in the uSA.
    If the same event occured in the uS; that occured in Argentina, the uS Congress would have over-ruled the voting due to the prevailing economic conditions that are so important to mutual survival of everyone here upon Earth!
    And never mention the amounts of pollution, etc. that would later definately diminish the quality of every humanś lives.the other results of not following the laws of physics in the uSA.
    In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed.. .No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people”. ref:preface to the 1828 Websterś Dictionary
    thanks given:
    The Father of Education, Noah Webster is not enjoyed anymore in the uSA.


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