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Amid protest over another spill, operations temporarily suspended at Barrick Gold mine in Argentina

Veladero mine has spilled cyanide solution a couple times now

by David Gray-Donald

"GET OUT, BARRICK, OR WE ALL GO" banner at Wednesday's night demo. Photo: Asemblea Jáchal No Se Toca
"GET OUT, BARRICK, OR WE ALL GO" banner at Wednesday's night demo. Photo: Asemblea Jáchal No Se Toca
Veladero mine. Photo: Barrick
Veladero mine. Photo: Barrick
Night demo. Photo: Asemblea Jáchal No Se Toca
Night demo. Photo: Asemblea Jáchal No Se Toca
Night demo. Photo: Asemblea Jáchal No Se Toca
Night demo. Photo: Asemblea Jáchal No Se Toca

The people of Jachal, Argentina, have been protesting against their neighbour Barrick Gold's Veladero mine for years now. 

Following news of a spill at the mine on Tuesday night, at least the third spill in a year and a half, local group Asemblea Jáchal No Se Toca (Don't Touch Jáchal Assembly) took to the streets on Wednesday night, drawing a sizable crowd.

"Fuera Barrick" (Get Out, Barrick) banners came out once again and speakers sent a clear message that they want their Canadian corporate neighbour, Barrick, to leave. 

Mining operations were temporarily suspended on Thursday by the San Juan provincial government, the day after the protests and a conversation between the governor and the province's head of mining police.

After its last couple spills at Veladero released cyanide, in one instance contaminating five rivers, Barrick was ordered to up its environmental monitoring of the mine.

But Jáchal residents aren't having it. Asemblea Jáchal No Se Toca writes on Facebook that these temporary suspensions of the mine are "insufficient measures for such crimes". The group is fighting for permanent closure of the mega-project, and point to Argentina's mining laws stipulating that continued violations of the law shall lead to definitive closure of the mining establishment.

Barrick, for its part, says the spill has been entirely contained. The company recently announced it is teaming up with another Canadian mining giant, Goldcorp, to dig into massive areas of northern Argentina.


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