Latest News Tuesday, March 24 2009, 13:32 pm Source: Invertia Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez Public debate on Pascua Lama: Minera Barrick cancels at the last minute
Only 20 minutes before they would start the debate, the organizers were notified that the Barrick Gold would not attend the debate. The reasons were lack of security. Jaime Prieto Santelices SANTIAGO, March 24 .-
Students of the University Adolfo Ibáñez, organizers and members of Center for Latin American Environmental Conflicts (OLCA) and Anti-Barrick protestors with banners were left stood up when the Barrick gold company did not show up. Only 20 minutes before they would start the debate they, were notified that the Barrick Gold mining is “withdrew” from the debate. This was explained by the director of OLCA Lucio Cuenca, who expressed annoyance that was not the first time that Canadian Mining Company cancel to participate in a public debate about Pascua Lama, adding that “It its quite irresponsible not appear here to defend their views and opinions. They have never had willingness to discuss openly and we drew attention to the world have agreed to this forum. ” According to which Cuenca, 20 minutes before the organizers received a call in which the company reported that “there were no guarantees and that it was withdrawing. People claimed that the University had a commitment to attend.This has also happened in a lot of other opportunities that Barrick has refused to discuss openly with those who have a different opinion to them. ” The debate to be held in one of the main auditorium of the hall was called , “Exploiting the gold in Chile breaks the ecosystem? Truth or Lie?” and with the participation of OLCA as Barrick and exhibitors. According to Cuena, Rodrigo Rivas, who is responsible for communications for Latin America was expected to attend .As was Guillermo Rolando Jefe Responsabilidad Social Empresarial Barrick Sudamérica. A unnamed source had said that one of the Barrick invited was preparing to leave when he got a phone call from his superior to say not to attend the debate, he disagreed but had to follow orders. The company, adding that ” We were not aware that we would not have the final word in the debate , that was imposed as a condition for coming. Lucio Cuenca replied, “That is not logical because it is a debate and that is left to the organizers to draw order “. This also happened again when Barrick spoek in Toronto, Canada during the Governemnt Roundtables on the Extractive industry meetings. Prior to the beginning of the Roundtable council person Luis Faura was to follow Barrick lawyer and represenative Jose Antonio Urrutia. The day of the presentation the order was switched and Luis Faura spoke first while Jose Antonio urrutia was able to refute his and Lucio statements by speaking last and have the last word. Back in October two representatives from Barrick travel to Copiapo to meet with Bishop Don Gaspar for a meeting to explain all the good work the company has been doing with the community and how they could make improvements on some of their mistakes. The representatives there also stated they were willing to meet openly with the community both for and against the Pascua Lama project to discuss their concerns they have with the project in an open forum. This promise of a future meeting and transparency was made to a Bishop and again it shows the lack of credibility and misleading statements they would make. Currently, Barrick Gold is the biggest producer of gold in the world and is in negotiations with the government of Argentina and Chile to seek agreement on the payment and amount of taxes that will mega gold. The company expects to reduce the cost of U.S. $ 2,700 million and reach agreement with authorities. Earlier this month, the chief executive of Barrick, Aaron Regent, argued that “only are a handful of outstanding issues to be defined with Argentina and Chile. ” Pascua Lama, one of the biggest gold projects, with 18 million ounces of gold in the Andes on the boundary between both countries, but just has not progressed because of the tax dispute. If there is a decision this year, production would begin in late 2012 or early 2013.