Last update:
2015-12-15

Relaves mineros en el Río Pilcomayo, Bolivia

Pollution by minerals in Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina along the river Pilcomayo because of mining in Bolivia, aggravated by the breaking of tailing dams (Porco and others).


Description:

El río Pilcomayo o Araguay forma parte de la cuenca del Plata que discurre por territorios de Bolivia (31%), Argentina (25%) y Paraguay (44%), sirviendo de frontera en parte de su curso. Tiene una longitud nominal de 2426 km y drena una cuenca de 270 000 km2. Es un río que presenta el fenómeno de extinción del cauce por atarquinamiento, es decir, depósito de sedimentos. Nace en la cordillera oriental del Altiplano boliviano, en los departamentos de Oruro, Potosí, Chuquisaca y Tarija, llagando a las regiones del Chaco Boreal al norte y el Chaco Central al sur. Está contaminado desde la época de la minería colonia en Potosí.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Relaves mineros en el Río Pilcomayo, Bolivia
Country:Bolivia
State or province:Potosí, Chuquisaca y Tajira
Location of conflict:Tacobamba, Villa montes, Yacuiba e Ibibobo
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Tailings from mines
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Water access rights and entitlements
Interbasin water transfers/transboundary water conflicts
Specific commodities:Lead
Silver
Zinc
Tin
Project Details and Actors
Project details

En Potosí se encuentren 450 cooperativas (80% de forma irregular) que extraen diariamente entre 1300 y 1800 toneladas de material minero, las cuales generan 1.200 toneladas de desechos contaminantes que depositan al río Picomayo.

Type of populationRural
Affected Population:3.100
Start of the conflict:1996
Company names or state enterprises:Corporacion Minera de Bolivia (COMIBOL) from Bolivia
COMSUR from Bolivia
Relevant government actors:Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Madre Tierra, Comisión de Medio Ambiente de la Asamblea Departamental de Chuquisaca y Potosí, Gobernación de Potosí, Ministerio de Minas.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Organización de Capitanias de Wennhayek y Tapieté (ORCAWETA), El Comité de Defensa del Pilcomayo, Caítania zonal de la A P.G. del Itika Guasu, PROVISA, Centro de Estudios Regionales de Tajira (CER-DET), Comisión Indígena Trinacional del Pilcomayo y la fundación Proteger
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Strikes
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Genetic contamination, Global warming, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Other Environmental impacts
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other Health impacts
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Other socio-economic impacts
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Migration/displacement
Strengthening of participation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:A pesar de existir una comisión trinacional que se enfoca al manejo de la cuenca del Pilcomayo, no se ha proporcionado el reconocimiento y la participación a las comunidades indígenas que habitan en las orillas del río, sumado a la poca vigilancia que el Ministerio de Ambiente de Bolivia a las actividades mineras en Potosí que son las principales contaminantes del río.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Ley de Medio Ambiente 1333 indicadores de arsénico

Decreto supremo 24782/1997 obliga al sector minero a la presentación de Manifestación de Impacto Ambiental

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

MONITOREO DE LA CONTAMINACIÓN MINERA Y DE MEDIO AMBIENTE DE LA CUENCA DEL RÍO PILCOMAYO
[click to view]

PASADO Y PRESENTE EN LA GESTIÓN DE LA CUENCA DEL PILCOMAYO. LA COOPERACIÓN EUROPEA EN UN ESCENARIO VULNERABLE
[click to view]

Situación de la contaminación minera en el río Pilcomayo
[click to view]

La rotura del dique de relaves de Porco
[click to view]

The breaking of a tailings dam in 2014
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Argentina, Bolivia y Paraguay, responsables de la desaparición del Río Pilcomayo
[click to view]

La contaminación del Pilcomayo paraliza a 13 minas de Potosí
[click to view]

La lenta tragedia del Pilcomayo
[click to view]

Empeora la contaminación del río pilcomayo
[click to view]

Estudio delaboratorio, revela incremento de contaminación del río Pilcomayo por ruptura del dique de colas Tacobamba
[click to view]

Other documents

Rio Pilcomayo. Fuente: Red Aclo
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Mario Alejandro Pérez, Instituto Cinara - Universidad del Valle, Cali – Colombia
Last update15/12/2015
Comments
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