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Mining: Pollution and poverty here, minerals and wealth there

Mining: Pollution and poverty here, minerals and wealth there

The industrial processes on which the so-called "progress" is based need a large amount of minerals to satisfy the demands for products whose need was generated in the consumer by the companies that produce and sell them. This is so true, as the extremely high levels of consumption of a small percentage of humanity are destroying the livelihoods and the environment of the other party, which is generally the one that lives in the areas impacted by mining.

Due to its impacts, mining is one of the most polluting activities carried out by man. Therefore, it must be strictly controlled in all its stages, from prospecting and exploitation to transportation and processing. In many cases, strict control would simply mean a ban on mining in the area.

However, during the last decade there have been hundreds of serious accidents where the protagonist was cyanide. This is mainly due to the fact that so far in many cases this control has been left to the mining corporations themselves, something absolutely absurd.

Even control in the hands of governments is insufficient, taking into account the economic and political power that mining corporations have shown to have over them. Society as a whole must then be called upon to participate directly in this control, as the only way to equalize forces.

Mining causes the devastation of the ecosystem in which it is installed (deforestation, contamination and alteration of water, destruction of habitats) and usually leaves nothing more than that when it leaves. If we go back in time, between 1545 and 1558, the fertile silver mines of Potosí were discovered. From there, systemic exploitation in the deposits and forced labor of thousands of indigenous people was generated. Bolivia is today the country that has given the most money to the world and of course one of the least.

Currently, more than 60% of the minerals are extracted through open-pit mining, quarrying and leaching mining. It is not worth clarifying that they are the most profitable (for companies) and the most polluting.

According to a 1999 study by Arborvitae (IUCN, WWF), southern countries “rich in mineral resources tend to have slower economic growth rates, lower levels of social welfare and much more skewed income distributions than developing countries. not dependent on minerals ”.

It is estimated that, together with oil exploration, mining activity threatens 38% of the last extensions of primary forests in the world.

Industrial countries consume more than two-thirds of the annual production of the nine most important minerals. The United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Western Europe, with 15 percent of the world's population, together consume the majority of the metals produced each year: about 61% of all aluminum, 60% of lead, 59% of copper and 49% of steel.

Ancash, Condorhuain, Chilecito, Famatina, Veladero, Pascua-Lama, Bajo La Alumbrera, San Luis Potosí, Cerro Quilish, Cerro de Pasco, Macacona, Marlin, San Martín, Peñasquito, Paso Diablo, Río Blanco and Crucitas are just a few examples of mining projects, which are in different stages in Latin America.

The mining companies take the minerals, but also the forests, water, health, life and the future of those who live in their areas of exploitation. Fortunately, the resistance of our peoples to this type of undertaking is growing day by day and important achievements have been made. But that resistance needs the support of all of us to definitively stop looting and mining pollution throughout our territory.

We will meet again next week, with a new installment of this publication.

Ricardo Natalichio
director
www.EcoPortal.net

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