Tres grandes éxitos contra proyectos mineros en Rumanía, Grecia y Sudáfrica

Romania, Greece, South Africa: Three victories against destructive mining

Tres grandes éxitos contra proyectos mineros en Rumanía, Grecia y Sudáfrica

Celebramos con nuestra red Sí a la Vida No a la Minería/ Yes to Life No To Mining YLNM tres grandes éxitos en Rumanía, Grecia y Sudáfrica y los compartimos para que sirvan de inspiración para todxs y de ánimo para seguir trabajando en la tarea común en defensa de la vida, por nuestra salud, por la manera en la que queremos vivir y por la integridad  nuestros territorios.

YLNM. 5/12/2018

En Certej, Rumanía

Mining Watch Romania celebra la decisión del Ministerio de Agua y Bosques (MAP) de detener inmediatamente la tala de 56 hectáreas de bosques del Fondo de Bosques rumano.

 Sobre estos bosques ha habido un largo procedimiento en los tribunales. Detrás de la intención de deforestar un área equivalente a 113 campos de fútbol se encuentra Deva Gold que pretende abrir la mina de oro en Certej. El proyecto requeriría el uso del cianuro. Para implementar el proyecto minero de oro pretenden talar un total de 165 hectáreas de bosques, algunos de los cuales están protegidos por la Red Natura 2000 europea.

 La mina de oro de Certej, también conocida como Deva Gold S.A. es un joint venture entre la empresa canadiense Elodorado Gold (80%) y la empresa estatal rumana Minvest Deva (20%). Eldorado Gold es una empresa minera “low cost” (en bolsa, TSX:ELD & NYSE:EGO) que pretende abrir en Rumanía la primera mina de oro a cielo abierto haciendo uso de cianuro. El proyecto ha estado plagado de escándalos, problemas de operación, contratiempos y oposición nacional e internacional debido al uso de grandes cantidades de cianuro y la destrucción de zonas rurales y bosques entre los que se encuentran bosques protegidos. De modo similar al proyecto de Rosia Montana que se logró detener, la población rumana asocia el proyecto de Certej a la corrupción política de alto nivel.

 La decisión ministerial llega como resultado de 4.500 opiniones, comentarios y sugerencias enviadas por la ciudadanía rumana como parte de un proceso de consulta pública. La participación ha demostrado que la tala de las 56 hectáreas de bosques sería ilegal. Este éxito es importantísimo para las organizaciones sociales y los miembros de la comunidad que han participado en la consulta pública.

 El bosque amenazado sería la única localización posible para las presas de colas, según varios estudios de factibilidad. Sin embargo, para construir las presas, Deva Gold no cuenta con derecho de uso la tierra ni permisos para talar los bosques. Para obtener el permiso, Deva gold omitió o dejó de notificar los litigios existentes a las autoridades. “No es la primera ilegalidad cometida por la minera. En 2014, Deva Gold comenzó a abrirse paso para acceder al lugar del proyecto sin contar con los permisos de construcción”, explica Roxana Pencea de Mining Watch Romania.

“La suspensión de la tala es un duro golpe para la empresa minera y una enorme victoria popular. Es un impulso a nuestras actividades estratégicas de denuncia y resistencia”, añade Pencea.

 


En Halkidiki, Grecia

 

Un juzgado absolvió a 21 personas de los falsos cargos por supuesto allanamiento de las instalaciones de una minera, a cuyo proyecto se opone la población, por motivos ambientales.

El juzgado de Tesalónica determinó que no había pruebas suficientes para condenar a las personas acusadas, todas las cuales negaron haber llevado a cabo actos ilícitos. Se les acusaba de asaltar las instalaciones de la minera de oro, atacar a los guardias de seguridad y prender fuego a la maquinaria y oficinas. Los cargos incluian intento de asesinato, posesión de explosivos, ofensa armada y pertenencia a banda armada.

El proyecto minero de la minera canadiense Eldorado Gold dividió a los habitantes de Halkidiki. Mientras que primaba la preocupación por la destrucción del medio ambiente y los bosques prístinos, los perjuicios al turismo y a otras fuentes locales de ingresos como la agricultura, la ganadería y la pesca, Muchos acogen con beneplácito los puestos de trabajo que la mina de oro y cobre traería, algunas personas se mostraban a favor de los supuestos empleos que la mina de oro podría traer. La división de las comunidades haciendo promesas a una parte de la población es una de las estrategias conocidas de las mineras para ganar aceptación de sus proyectos.

La decisión del tribunal el pasado viernes 30 de noviembre fue recibida con aplausos en el juzgado,  repleto de opositores a la mina, de las aldeas de Halkidiki de Ierissos y Megali Panagia.

El abogado defensor, Giorgos Kyritsis, se mostró satisfecho con la condena.

“Se demostró claramente que los cargos eran falsos”, declaró a The Associated Press.

Eldorado Gold adquirió la concesión de Skouries en 2012 e inició la construcción un año más tarde con vistas a explotar una mina a cielo abierto y subterránea.

Pero la falta de permisos y licencias y la oposición ciudadana llevó a suspender el desarrollo de la mina. Desde 2017 Eldorado Gold tiene el proyecto parado.

 


En Xolobeni, Sudáfrica

 Amadiba Crisis Comittee informa que la Corte Suprema confirmó que los proyectos minero deben obtener el consentimiento pleno y previo de las comunidades antes de comenzar.

 Xolobeni es una comunidad en la provincia Cabo Oriental de Sudáfrica. Hace casi 10 años, una empresa minera australiana comenzó a explorar arenas minerales ricas en titanio en el área e inició un proceso de participación publica para obtener licencia social de las comunidades. Pero como la verdad es que la mina desplazaría a cientos de personas de las tierras de las que dependen, las comunidades se resistieron. Argumentan que prefieren un desarrollo basado en la agricultura y el turismo y no en la minería. Las comunidades se organizaron como Comité de Crisis Amadiba (Amadiba Crisis Committee ACC).

ACC llevó a la empresa minera y al Departamento de Recursos Minerales del gobierno a la corte suprema para demandar el Derecho a Decir No. En una reciente sentencia, esta Corte confirmó que cualquier proyectos minero deben obtener el consentimiento pleno antes de llevarse a cabo en el terreno.

 La necesidad de llevar al gobierno a los tribunales para probar judicialmente que se debe consultar a las comunidades con respecto a proyectos a llevar a cabo en sus tierras se enraíza en la historia de apartheid y el derecho consuetudinario. En muchas áreas rurales, la posesión de la tierra no es individual, sino comunitaria, a menudo bajo el liderazgo de un jefe. Históricamente, las empresas mineras simplemente se limitaban a buscar el consentimiento del jefe -a menudo por medio de sobornos o prebendas- y utilizaron el consentimiento obtenido de este modo para proceder a implementar su proyecto.

Este juicio confirma que es la comunidad y no individualmente los jefes quienes deben proveer el consentimiento pleno e informado.

El “Derecho a Decir NO” se basa en la necesidad del Consentimiento Previo, Libre e Informado, un paso importante hacia el derecho al desarrollo autodeterminado, según los coordinadores de la campaña. La campaña se difundió en redes sociales como #Right2SayNO

Todas estas son importantes victorias de un trabajo más amplio y todas ellas requieren continuar la vigilancia sobre el actuar de las empresas mineras y la connivencia política con acciones ilegales y no consentidas por las poblaciones afectadas.

 

 

Yes to Life, No To Mining celebrates three great successes in Romania, Greece and South Africa, where communities have won significant victories against destructive mining. We share these stories as inspiration to all. Victories like these encourage us to continue working in defence of life, for our health, for the way in which we want to live and for the integrity of our territories.

YLNM. 05/12/2018

Certej, Romania

Report from Mining Watch Romania. 

YLNM members Mining Watch Romania welcome the decision [1] of the Ministry of Waters and Forests (MAP) to immediately stop proceedings over removing 56 hectares of forests from the country’ Forestry Fund. The subsequent deforestation of that area, equivalent to a surface of 113 football fields, is crucial for Deva Gold to develop the cyanide-based gold mine in Certej. All in all, a total of 165 hectares of forests would need to be cut to make way for the gold mine. Some are protected under European regulation as Natura 2000 sites.

The Certej gold mine proposal also known as Deva Gold S.A. is a joint venture between Canadian-based Eldorado Gold (80%) and state-owned Minvest Deva (20%). Eldorado Gold, a low cost Canadian gold mining company (TSX:ELD & NYSE:EGO), intends to open Romania’s first cyanide based open-pit gold mine. However, the proposed Certej gold mine project has been beleaguered by scandals, operational problems, setbacks and national, and international opposition due to the use of very large amounts of cyanide and the destruction of pastures, forests and even protected forests (N2000). Similar to the halted Rosia Montana mine, Romanians generally associate the Certej proposal with corruption at the highest political level.

The ministry’s decision comes in result of over 4,500 opinions, suggestions and comments submitted by Romanian citizens as part of a public consultation procedure. Their interventions proved that clearing the 56 hectares of forests would be illegal. This presents an important victory for the country’s civil society organisations and community members who participated in the public consultation.

 

“The suspension of the deforestation procedure is a heavy blow for the mining company and a strong victory for people power. This is a great encouragement to continue with our strategic litigation activities and opposition. We want and will make sure that the rule of law is applied as far too many citizens suffer from the effects of the abuse of power such as the destruction of protected forests etc.”, adds Roxana Pencea from Mining Watch Romania.

Find out more…


Halkidiki, Greece

Report by Costas Kantouris. originally published by AP News.

 

A Greek court on Friday acquitted 21 people accused of raiding prospective gold mining facilities that some see as a welcome foreign investment but many local residents strongly oppose on environmental grounds.

About 40 masked people attacked the facilities at Skouries in the Halkidiki peninsula in northern Greece in February 2013. They allegedly assaulted security guards and set fire to machinery and offices.

The court in the northern city of Thessaloniki found there wasn’t sufficient evidence to convict the defendants, all of whom had denied any wrongdoing.

“There are indications of guilt for defendants, but events also came up which refute these indications and create doubts as to the guilt,” presiding judge Vassilis Stefos said. “However, full proof of guilt is required” for a conviction.

The charges had included attempted murder, possession of explosives, arms offenses and forming a criminal organization.

The mining facilities, owned by Canada’s Eldorado Gold, have split Halkidiki residents. Many welcome the jobs that the gold and copper mine would bring, while others say it would destroy the environment and pristine forests, harming tourism and other local sources of revenue such as farming, livestock rearing and fishing.

Protests broke out in the area, with tear gas and firebombs used and residents trading accusations with the company about heavy-handed reactions and the use of violence.

Friday’s decision was greeted with cheers in the courthouse, which was packed with friends and supporters of the defendants from the Halkidiki villages of Ierissos and Megali Panagia.

A defense lawyer, Giorgos Kyritsis, said the ruling fully justified his clients.

“It was clearly proved that the charges were fabricated,” he told The Associated Press.

Eldorado Gold acquired the Skouries site in 2012 and started construction work a year later with a view to operating it as an open pit and underground mine.

But long delays with permits and licenses from Greek authorities led to a temporary suspension in development, and in 2017 Eldorado Gold placed the site in a state of care and maintenance.

Find out more… 


Xolobeni, South Africa

Report by Jonathan Watts, originally published in The Guardian.

Environmental activists in South Africa have won a landmark legal victory after the high court ordered the government to get prior community consent before granting mining rights.

The judgment represents a major victory for campaigners in Xolobeni, a community in Pondoland, who have been involved in a protracted and sometimes violent struggle against a proposed titanium mine.

Their lawyers told the court that the department of mineral resources offered a mining concession to the Australian company Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources without the prior informed consent of local residents.

The proposed project aimed to generate annual revenues of £140m for the 25-year life of the opencast pit, which would have produced zircon, rutile and titanium for laptop computers, bicycles, golf clubs, watches and drill bits.

But local residents said the clearance of the dunes would destroy their homes, their culture and the ecology of the Wild Coast region. They formed the Amadiba Crisis Committee, which staged protests and launched a legal challenge that led to Thursday’s victory.

Until now the informal rights of customary communities were not protected by law, but Judge Annali Basson ruled they now have the right to decide how their territory is used.

“As such they may not be deprived of their land without their consent,” Basson was quoted as saying in local reports.

Several members of the Amadiba Crisis Committee have been killed or threatened, which made the victory more significant.

“I’m so happy. This shows that our country has hope because the courts of law provide real justice for citizens despite politicians who are looting South Africa in the name of development,” said Nonhle Mbuthuma whose story was featured earlier this year in the Guardian’s Defenders series.

“We’ve set a precedent for all other communities facing this situation across Africa and the world. Until now, mining has been imposed on us. Now this judgment is a tool for communities to protect their land.”

Find out more…

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