Sustainable mega-mining is not possible

Sustainable mega-mining is not possible

In the last days of December, the people of Mendoza took to the streets against the modification of Law 7722. This prohibits the use of cyanide, mercury, sulfuric acid and other similar toxic substances in mining exploitation processes and, in this way, protects water .

This implied a new milestone in a long process of conflict around mining activity and its socio-environmental implications. The axis of the conflict revolves around a type of mining exploitation in particular: the Mega-mining. Unlike traditional mining, this is prohibited in many parts of the world due to its already proven irreversible socio-environmental effects due, among other reasons, to the use of toxic chemicals such as cyanide.

What triggered this new milestone is a renewed attempt to expand the border of mega-mining, trying to force its authorization in provinces where social rejection had already been reflected in legal protection. This is the purpose of those who try to modify Law No. 7722 in Mendoza, Law No. 5001 in Chubut and the National Glacier Law. And it is to stop the advance of mega-mining that the people took to the streets.

Despite the fact that the modification of the Mendoza law was stopped, attempts to modify the legislation to enable mega-mining continue. In this context, a series of debatable arguments circulate in the media that favor the implementation of new mega-mining projects in the country. We present some of these arguments below and critically respond to each one.

Those of us who adhere to this statement want to express a strong concern about the consequences that mega-mining has on our health and our territories. And we are compelled to make public some unavoidable technical issues, from an interdisciplinary perspective and in dialogue with the knowledge of the exposed communities. We want to be clear: in the current state of affairs, “sustainable mega-mining” is not possible. Historical experiences and available scientific evidence lead to the unequivocal conclusion that MEGAMINERY IS SERIOUSLY ATTENTION TO THE HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT OF THE SOCIETIES WHERE IT IS SETTED

All knowledge has political and social implications. We advocate for non-commercialized knowledge, functional to collective needs and not to mining profit. We think that our task should not be to assume the place of "the truth" and decide for society in its name. Rather, we must strengthen the processes of public deliberation, assuming that our scientific productions are a key input for them.


Finally, it is necessary to clarify that mega-mining is not the only activity that has serious socio-environmental consequences. Like these, "fracking" and agriculture based on GMOs and agrochemicals have serious consequences. We want to highlight the importance of involving all of our people in political decisions regarding the development of mega-mining and any other polluting activity (see more).

By Scientists and Researchers of Argentina

Video: Climate-Smart Mining: Minerals for Climate Action (July 2021).