Argentine anti-mining forces flex their muscles


Residents of the community of Esquel marching in January against a proposal by Chubut Gov. Mariano Arcioni to repeal a ban on open-pit mining in the province. (Photo by Daniel Gutman)

Alberto Fernández donned Argentina’s presidential sash last Dec. 10 against a sobering economic backdrop, with the country’s public debt surpassing US$300 billion, or 88.8% of the gross domestic product, and 40% of the country’s population living in poverty. As a presidential candidate, Fernández had proposed ways to get the country out of this hole, a main one being mining, which he describes as a “great opportunity for a country that needs to produce, grow and export.” Since his inauguration, however, the new president has encountered powerful pushback from the nation’s anti-mining movement, which in recent years has blocked large-scale projects in several regions and has won growing support from the Argentine public. The emerging battle is occurring largely in the provinces, which under the Argentine Constitution are responsible for natural resource protection. Indeed, on the day Fernández took office, the governor of the Andean province of Mendoza... [Log in to read more]

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