May 20th, 2008
Fifty Chilean activists protested against Barrick Gold‘s infamous planned Pascua Lama mine on May 8. Protesters carried giant bags of ice to symbolize the glaciers that are being destroyed by the project, dressed in black bags to commemorate the 15 people who have died as a result of the mine, and spray-painted the company’s office floors and the sidewalk outside with the names of dead workers.
The Pascua Lama gold field is situated beneath two massive glaciers. Originally, Barrick proposed “moving” the glaciers to get at the gold underneath, but the plan was abandoned due to massive public opposition. The new plan involves tunnel mining instead, though digging has yet to begin due to tax issues. Yet locals and environmentalists charge that the road construction to the mine site is already destroying and contaminating glacial fields.
Due to six years of utter drought, with no recorded rain, locals rely on glacial melt for 100 percent of their drinking water.