Mining Industry Malarkey August 24, 2006Posted by angryscientist in Bad Science, Uncategorized.
Barrick, a gold mining company based in Canada, recently got approval from Chile to go ahead with its controversial Pascua Lama project. Opponents claim Barrick will destroy two glaciers high in the Andes to get at the gold beneath. Originally the plan was to relocate these glaciers. Barrick denies the orebody it wants to mine is under any icefields or glaciers. It says glaciologists classify the icefields involved as glacierets or ice reservoirs rather than traditional glaciers. However, Barrick quotes COREMA, the regional Chilean environmental agency: “the company shall only access the ore in a manner that does not remove, relocate, destroy or physically intervene the Toro 1, Toro 2, and Esperanza glaciers.” So if there was never any plan that would endanger these glaciers, since according to Barrick they are outside the limit of the pit containing the orebody it intends to mine, what is COREMA referring to?
Another mining company just won the 2006 Hardrock Mineral Community Outreach and Economic Security Award from the Bureau of Land Management. The Kensington gold mining project, being developed by Coeur d’Alene Mines, is under fire from environmentalists because of its plan to dump the mining waste in a nearby lake. From Yahoo Finance http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/060809/sfw045.html?.v=68
In an award letter, BLM Director Kathleen Clarke noted that the award is presented annually to “those hardrock mining projects that have shown responsible mineral resource development while demonstrating an understanding of sustainable development. We salute the effort of all employees at Coeur Alaska’s Kensington Gold Mine for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the community.”
Coeur’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis E. Wheeler said, “We are honored and humbled to be recognized by the BLM with this award. BLM is uniquely qualified to determine what constitutes responsible development because of its very charter, which is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of some 260 million acres of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Since its inception, the Kensington mine has been guided by principles that are entirely consistent with this charter.”
The Alaska U.S. District Court dismissed a lawsuit challenging a permit given Coeur by the Army Corps of Engineers to dump its waste in the lake. Coeur is primarily involved in silver mining, and has won several environmental awards over the years. Presumably these awards are as meaningless as this recent BLM award.