I am the elected president of the Diaguita Huascoaltinos in my second term. I am holding the proxy for Louise Constantine.
The Chilean part of the Pascua Lama gold mining mega-project is located on our ancestral land to which we have title. This was not taken into consideration in the series of negociations that approved this project in 2001.
This mega project initially included the removal of 3 glaciers that are part of the principle
fresh water reserves that feed the Huasco river. This generated strong public opposition opinion and a supposed change in the design of the project. In the latest assesment of the Chilean Environmental Authority the exectution of the project is conditioned on not affecting direct changes to the Toro I, Toro II, and Esperanza glaciers that are found on the Pascua Lama gold deposit. Despite having made this commitment, in 2005 the Chilean General Directorate of Water tested and proved that these three glaciers have shrunk by 50 to 70% as a direct result of Barrick's actions. Barrick Gold has not been sanctioned as a result of this and continues to work in this zone.
Barrick Gold is preventing access to our community members their traditional land. Even when there is a public policy that prevents keeping the main road closed, this road is kept closed and permanently monitored by security guards.
After exhausting all the legal avenues in our country to oppose this project and prevent the usurpation of our lands and the consequent pollution of the Huasco Valley, in 2006 we decided to sue the State of Chile for the Pascua Lama project in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Now, Barrick Gold seeks to extend facilities to other parts of our territories including the top of the Chollay and Pachuy mountains, sectors which is currently conducting mining explorations.
The image of this company has been tarnished by the harmful impacts on the environment and communities that it has generated around the world. As a way to improve its public image, it has the public face of Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Relations. According to these policies, Barrick Gold requires the approval of local communities, but our community, which are the legal owners of the land where the projects are located have not authorized the company to
perform their work because they do not respect the natural balance of our lands and the maintenance of our culture. This is why we have repeatedly expressed our rejection of the development of mega-mining in our territory.
As a result of this, the mining company Barrick Gold has for several years conducted a process of reinvention of ethnic Diaguita which is intended to make the public believe that they have the support of the Diaguita Huascoaltinos. In this process the company has brought outside professionals to conduct training on the Diaguita's own ancestral traditions and has manipulated these teachings for their own convenience, inventing a nonexistent Diaguita culture and denying the ethnicity of our community. They have raised false leaders, who are now attending meetings with the company and appearing in Barrick's newsletters, and have discredited our real leaders, creating irreconcilable divisions among our people and weakening our neighbors and community's identity.
1. How is it possible that Barrick claims to be environmentally responsible despite the study conducted by the Chilean Water Direction showing the glaciers were reduced by 70% as a result of your actions?
2. How can Barrick claim to be accountable to the Diaguita if the representatives that Barrick chooses to negotiate with are not the Senior elected Leaders of the Diaguita Community?
3. At what cost to humanity and our mother earth will Barrick Gold Corporation continue to destroy our culture and heritage for only one objective: making money
4. Have you ever asked yourself about what kind of damage are you doing to humanity and mother earth to be part of Barrick Gold Corporation?