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Argentina: Anti-mining feeling is now reaching into the most pro-mining of regions

Jujuy, up in the northern reaches of Argentina, has been mining country for generations. But even in the most traditional corner of miner-friendly communites the rejection of bad mining operations is gathering speed.

Yesterday 2,000 people (a lot for that sparsely populated neck of the woods, be in no doubt) marched to the small town of Tilcara to protest the ongoing pollution to water supply and land. Notable was the lack of protest about economic development that mining brings, as you’re talking to families of generational miners here that know all the pros and cons of living around, with and for the mining industry. They’re just fed up with the poisoning, folks. The arguments were dominated by complaints about land contamination (as just one example, Google “Minera El Aguilar” to find out what they’re talking about) water pollution and health problems (plenty of witnesses saying that loved ones have died from classic mining-related illnesses).

So be warned, mining investment community; if you want to make a fair profit from the extraction industry, the just treatment of local peoples is not an optional extra any more, not even in the most miner-friendly parts of the world. “DYODD, dude” applies to a prospective company’s environmental track record. Ignore it at your own peril.

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