More matter with less art

The pro-mine lobby begins to fight back in Argentina

This links to an article published in several outlets in the Rio Negro province of Argentina recently, with the thrust of the piece about how a lot of irrational fears have grown up around the whole subject of mining recently and what the reality is (from a pro-mining perspective at least) of the sector. It’s hardly coincidence that this public awareness campaign comes right after the creation of the OFEMI agreement between 10 provinces of Argentina looking to promote the benefits of mining in to their populations. Here’s an extract (translation Otto) from the note that I particularly liked (as it was well written) on cyanide use in mining.

Regarding sodium cyanide and/or potassium cyanide

In our country [Argentina] cyanide is not produced, in which case all we use is imported. Between just 11% and 13% of the cyanide imported per year,  highly diluted in water (1% to 5%, or 10kg to 50kg for every 1,000 litres of water) is used in modern mining in Argentina to obtain gold and silver. The other 87% of imported cyanide is fully consumed by national industries in the production of medicines, paper, paints, colourings, glue, cosmetics, metallurgy, galvanizations, insecticides, fertilizers, pesticides, textiles, nylon, plastics and even fine wines for the export market, amongst other uses. These are uses that have been established for decades in factories, laboratories, workshops, wineries etc and at the heart of the most densely industrial complexes in the country, all without making a single headline to date of having caused an environmental or human catastrophe. In fact, cyanide oxidizes when it is exposes to the air or to other oxidants, it decomposes and does not persist. Although it is a deadly poison if ingested in sufficient dosage, it does not cause chronic problems for health or for the environment when it is present in the low concentrations indicated above.

What is noticeable, and it’s necessary to underline this, is that the exact same substance is considered totally innocuous to the life and the belongings of citizens living in geographically dense population areas in the country, given that it has not raised any noticeable resistance up to now and that nobody protests or shouts to the heavens about this situation. However, strangely, when the very same cyanide is used in mining at deposits located is the most inhospitable and unpopulated deserted parts of the country and managed using high technology controls, this same compound is transformed, according to those opposed to mining, into a terrifying beast that pollutes, causes illnesses, and kills.

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