Mendozan parliament in Argentina suspends open pit mining

  • 14/01/2007

Aprovincial parliament in Argentina recently suspended all open-pit mining and also stopped issuing new exploration and mining permits in the province, citing environmental threat.

The Mendoza province parliament voted to suspend mining indefinitely since a local government had failed to draw up a plan to safeguard the environment from mining projects.

Diego Arenas, a Democratic Party deputy, felt the province's vulnerable agricultural sector made it important to protect water supplies from pollution. But Mendoza mining director Alberto Rubio said the decision was unconstitutional since all mining activity was controlled by the mining code, which could only be modified by national congress.

Industry too is unhappy. Michael Keating of Frontier Strategy Group, a consultancy group, felt state and local authorities were trying to wrest control of mining to derive more benefits.