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The lie of mining employment and the concern of multinationals

The lie of mining employment and the concern of multinationals

By Darío Shapostkik

A particularly acceptable view from someone who has investigated the business fallacy when it comes to convincing people of the benefits of a mining venture. Labor occupation and indirect employment are the workhorses they use to operate in public opinion.

The great controversy

One of the scams of multinational mining companies is that this economic activity generates work. The mass commercial media and the officials on duty assiduously collaborate in the assembly of this lie. They are in charge of disseminating statistical reports and projections to convince the populations that "in a short time we will see San Juan flooded with work" (Report by Gioja, governor of San Juan, June 2003)

We learned something similar in the case of the Fray Bentos pasteras, promoted by the Frente Amplio government; according to Tabaré Vázquez "they would report more than 2,000 direct jobs." However, studies presented by universities in Montevideo and Entre Ríos showed that the actual work for Uruguayan workers and technicians was reduced to less than a hundred.


Another objective is to prevent populations from resisting the installation of mining operations. A mining company needs to invade and occupy territories and displace populations. It is an infrastructure prerequisite to which other types of multinationals are not obliged.

In many cases they get the inhabitants to think things like these: "It doesn't matter if they pollute if they bring work", as the protagonist of the documentary "Asecho a la Ilusión" says, where the case of Bajo La Alumbrera, in Catamarca .

The truth is another

In the traditionally mining countries of South America (Brazil, Peru and Chile), this industry employs, respectively, 91,000 people (which represents only 0.1% of the economically active population), 75,000 (equivalent to 0.9% of the EAP), and 78,000 people (1.4% of the EAP) (1).

The working conditions offered by the mining companies are extremely unhealthy and precarious, generating higher rates of work accidents every day, such as the one that occurred on June 14, 2004 in the Río Turbio coal fields, when fourteen workers died. To this human disaster, we must add the "accident" at the water treatment plant where coal is processed and washed, which caused the death of worker Ramiro Marín on December 23, 2005.

"The National State seems to say to Barrick Gold, Meridian Gold, Alumbrera Limited, and others: 'Gentlemen, we are at your disposal. Tell us what you want, that we are going to do it,'" accuses the parliamentary report presented by Deputy Carlos Alberto Tinnirello , on June 1, 2006.

"In reality," continues the informant, "President Kirchner has already been in charge of fulfilling this shameful task. In the presentation of the National Mining Plan, on 1/23/04, addressing the 'representatives of the mining sector' he said verbatim:" … Everything that helps the sector and you as entrepreneurs see a clear perspective to encourage investment, and believe that this investment can be encouraged with certain measures that we can discuss, we are absolutely ready to listen… "(2).

He then asks: "Why is the President willing to listen only to the businessmen and not to the population that continually demonstrates in defense of their environment and natural resources? Why does he ignore the population of Esquel, who spoke out 81% against open-pit mining? Why is he deaf in front of the 20% of the inhabitants of Santa María, Belén and Andalgalá, in Catamarca, who have mobilized against the Agua Rica and Filo Colorado projects, demanding a plebiscite against any undertaking that may affect the environment? What leads you to ignore the firm decision of the inhabitants of the Uco Valley, in Mendoza, to oppose open-pit mining in the Papagayos area? " (Report June 1, 2006, National Congress, Argentina)

When "they" care

The seriousness of the looting of resources and the environmental damage caused by the companies that carry out mega-mining activities has even led the Canadian Parliament - the country from which most of the companies dedicated to mega-mining originate - Among them Minera Andes, one of those responsible for the San José-Huevos Verdes venture, will invite the government of that country to end the social and environmental consequences of the devastating Canadian mining operations outside the country.


A recent parliamentary report invites the government to: cease support for destructive Canadian mining projects abroad; hold Canadian mining companies legally responsible for human and environmental rights violations in other countries, and force the World Bank to respect international human rights standards (3).

In June 2005, Parliament's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade adopted a report expressing its concerns that "Canada still does not have laws to ensure that the activities of Canadian mining companies in Developing countries conform to human rights standards, including the rights of workers and indigenous people. "

The report argues that "much more must be done to ensure that Canadian companies conduct their activities in a socially and environmentally responsible manner and in compliance with international human rights standards."

Among other things, the report urges the government of Canada:

a) To condition Canadian support "to companies with clearly defined corporate social responsibility and human rights standards."

b) To establish clear legal standards in Canada to ensure that Canadian companies and residents will be held accountable when there is evidence of environmental and / or human rights violations associated with the activities of Canadian mining companies.

Among the projects questioned by the Canadian Parliament itself, it is worth mentioning:

- Vancouver-based Ascendant Copper Corporation is seeking to raise financing to develop a copper mine in one of the world's most diverse and threatened ecosystems, despite vigorous opposition from local leaders and elected residents across the county from Cotacachi, in northwestern Ecuador. The company is attempting to raise millions of dollars on the Toronto Stock Exchange to carry out its Junin project, and the Canadian government has failed to invite Ascendant to suspend its activities until the disputed issues can be resolved.

- Communities in San Marcos, Guatemala, are locked in a fight with Glamis Gold Corporation of Canada. Glamis's Marlin mine has been accused of violating indigenous rights and threatening scarce water supplies. Despite these concerns, the Canadian government has been aggressively promoting the interests of Canadian mining companies in Guatemala. Local communities recently voted to reject mining in the area, but the company has not accepted and has not respected the wishes of the community.

- TVI Pacific is locked in a brutal fight with the communities in Siocon, Mindanao in the Philippines. The above parliamentary report notes that the 'subcommittee is deeply concerned about the possible impact of the activities of TVI Pacific Inc., a Canadian mining company, on the indigenous rights and human rights of the people in the area' and makes a called for a government investigation into TVI's activities. "

As can be seen, what transnational corporations execute with impunity in Argentina awakens a certain resentment in the world centers of power. This data is not minor: it is the strongest proof that our leaders are fulfilling the plans of the US State Department to the letter.

Indeed, in a document dated December 10, 1974, declassified on March 7, 1989, the ill-fated former Secretary of State during Richard Nixon's presidency, Henry Kissinger, says (page 37), that if the world continues like this (such as it was in 1974) 'there will be a greater dependence of the industrialized countries on imports of raw materials from the underdeveloped countries. "

On page 43, Kissinger points out that the US economy, 'will require large and growing quantities of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries.' Sixty pages later, he indicates that 'we must be careful that the pressures on the countries less developed are not seen as a form of imperialism. '

On page 114, the document blatantly says the same thing as stated above: “It is vital that the effort to develop and strengthen commitment by the leaders of the least developed countries is not seen by them as the policy of an industrialized country. to keep its vigor reduced to preserve resources that will be used by rich countries ”.

Consequently, I cannot in any way consent to express approval that our country continues to be subjected to the most abject looting in memory.

Notes :
1) "Impact of Mining", in "Allied News" of 1/26/05, Volume 42 No. 2, Page 2.
2 inhttp://www.mineria.gov.ar/discurso.asp
3) www.parl.gc.ca/committee/CommitteePublication.
* (INDIP / OPI Santa Cruz)
http://www.opisantacruz.com.ar


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