Indigenous representatives from Papua New Guinea and Chile traveled to Canada this week to speak at Barrick Gold’s annual shareholders meeting.
At Barrick’s Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea, complaints include house burnings, forced displacement, and a food security crisis caused by the mine’s expanding waste dumps. At Barrick’s Pascua Lama project on the border of Chile and Argentina, Barrick failed to consult the Diaguita Huascoaltinos Indigenous community, who hold title to the land of the proposed mine, as well as other areas that Barrick is exploring.
“Barrick has made it impossible for us to live on our traditional land. It is contaminated, unhealthy, we have no land left to grow our food and we are constantly targeted by the mine security,” explained Mark Ekepa, the chairman of the Porgera Landowners Association. “We want to be resettled as a community, but Barrick refuses to negotiate with us.”
Representatives from the Diaguita Huascoaltinos also delivered a strong message to Barrick’s shareholders.
“We will not allow Barrick to destroy our land and our culture. We will not allow you to appropriate the legacy left by tour ancestors. Today, we come here to order the closure of Pascua Lama,” reads an official statement delivered by three representatives from the community. Their statement continues, “shareholders, if you continue to mine in our lands, you will remain complicit in the pollution and destruction of our culture and you will be enriched in return for the death of our people.”
The Diaguita Huascoaltinos have two lawsuits against Barrick within Chile, and a lawsuit against the Chilean state within the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Within the IACHR, their claim states that the government violated the Diaguita’s Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) and did not consider comments submitted by their community in the Environmental Assessment Process of the mine. The claim also states that Barrick’s claim to land on and near the Pascua Lama project on the border of Chile and Argentina relies on a series of fraudulent land claims to collectively held-Diaguita Huascoaltinos land.
The delegation from Papua New Guinea, which includes the Chairman and the Secretary of the Porgera Landowners Association and two representatives from the Akali Tange Association, comes to Canada on the heels of the release of an Amnesty International report detailing forced evictions and house burnings near Barrick’s Porgera Mine.
See Amnesty Report: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA34/001/2010/en/2a498f9d-39f7-47df-b5eb-5eaf586fc472/asa340012010eng.pdf
See Full Statements of Impacted Community leaders: http://www.protestbarrick.net/article.php?id=591
More info on Barrick Gold: http://www.protestbarrick.net/article.php?id=590
To speak to Indigenous representatives contact Sakura Saunders: 647-838-8455, [email protected]
Jethro Tulin, Executive Officer, Akali Tange Association: [email protected]
Daniela GuzmÃ¡n, Technical Advisor, Diaguita Huascoaltinos: [email protected]