Friday, September 18, 2015

Barrick's in trouble again... over cyanide spill

Cyanide spill in Argentine Andean mine triggers strong protests from local residents. 

Residents of a town in the Argentine northwestern province of San Juan took to the streets in protest after an industrial malfunction caused a pipe carrying potentially lethal cyanide to the nearby Veladero gold mine to fracture and spill an amount of its contents in the area on Sunday. The news reached national level on Monday.


Criminal complaint filed against Barrick over cyanide spill in Argentina


Prosecutors in the western Argentine province of San Juan have filed a criminal complaint over a cyanide spill at a gold mine operated by Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold, while hundreds of local residents demanded Wednesday that authorities halt work at the deposit.

"We want all investigative measures taken to determine if there's a crime ... and if there's criminal liability," provincial prosecutor Guillermo de Sanctis told EFE, referring to the complaint filed Tuesday with a provincial court.

Barrick Gold said in a statement that the spill occurred Sunday when a pipe carrying cyanide suffered a valve failure at its Veladero gold mine, although it insisted the leak did not contaminate local water supplies.
The San Juan provincial government recommended that the inhabitants of three towns located near Veladero "avoid and/or reduce their consumption of water from the Blanco River" as a precautionary measure until tests results are known.

That official notification came just hours after the president of the San Juan Mining Chamber assured local residents that the spill posed no threat to the local population.

Around 1,000 people protested Wednesday in Jachal, the town closest to the mine, to call for the shuttering of the mine and the resignation of the provincial mining minister, among other demands.

"After saying that everything was fine and under control, they prohibit three towns from drinking water. Imagine the uncertainty that's out there," Domingo Jofre, a community leader in Jachal, told EFE. - FoxNews Latino

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