Pascua Lama Mine, Argentina

Sentenced by Chilean justice for the non-respect of envrionmental regulations, Barrick Gold suspended the mining activities in Pascua-Lama, while the surrounding glaciers are still threaten by the presence of the company.


El yacimiento Pascua-Lama Argentina se ubica en la Cordillera de Los Andes, sobre el límite internacional chileno-argentino. Está ubicado 10 km al norte de Veladero. Su nombre reconoce el carácter binacional del proyecto: Pascua, por el nombre del área chilena, y Lama, por la argentina. Es un proyecto minero de la Barrick Gold que consiste en la explotación a rajo abierto de un yacimiento de minerales de oro, plata y cobre, y su procesamiento para obtener como productos metal doré (oro, plata) y concentrado de cobre. El proyecto tiene un carácter binacional, al considerar obras y operaciones tanto en territorio chileno como argentino. En Argentina, el proyecto se ubica unos 300 km al norponiente de la ciudad de San Juan, en el Departamento de Iglesia, Provincia de San Juan. En Chile, el proyecto ha sido interrumpido en 2013 por la justicia chilena y la acción ambientalista. La Superintendencia de Medio Ambiente Chilena designó a la Barrick Gold responsable por no haber cumplido con los requerimientos legales de la Resolución de Calificación Ambiental (RCA). Las sanciones económicas se elevaron en 2013 a una multa de 16.5 millones de dolares. Desde el 2014, el proyecto esta interrumpido en ambos lados de la frontera.

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Basic Data
NamePascua Lama Mine, Argentina
ProvinceSan Juan
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific CommoditiesWater
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe extraction of 15 million tons of ore a year for gold mining. The project is supposed to last 20 years.

The Pascua Lama project in Argentina of Barrick Gold is part of a project that would take place mostly in Chile.

In 2014, the project has been stopped both on the Chilean and Argentina's sides. Barrick is reducing the number of workers. The expectations of increased incomes and jobs in San Juan in Argentina have been betrayed.

In 2015, the Chilean Environmental Superintendence reports the non-authorized extension of the mine over more than 16 hectars, exceeding 50% of the geographical area it was supposed to occupy (35 hectars).
Level of Investment (in USD)6,000,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2007
Company Names or State EnterprisesExploraciones Mineras Argentinas S.A from Argentina
Barrick Gold Corporation from Canada
Compania Minera Nevada Ltda from Chile
Relevant government actorsArgentine government, Chilean government, Chilean judicial authorities (Superintendencia de Medio Ambiente)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersFUNAM, Argentine-Chilean Citizen and Institution NO to Pascua Lama and Veladero Mines, Anti Pascua Lama Citizen Movement, OLCA, Fundacion Ciudadanos Independientes, Greenpeace Chile & Argentina
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Activists accuse Barrick Gold of being a climate criminal due to the destruction of glaciers and that the company should be tried in the Climate Justice Tribunal. Because of complaints in Chile, Barrick Gold has stopped the Pascua Lama project in 2013-14.
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Mine tailing spills, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Strengthening of participation
Project cancelled
Project temporarily suspended
Argentinas Congress passed a law in September 2010 that seeks to protect environmentally sensitive glaciers by imposing strict limits on mining. The measure prohibits mining near glaciers along Argentina's border with Chile.
Development of AlternativesThe stopping of the mine activity and the restoration of the area.
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.Argentinas Congress passed a law in September 2010 that seeks to protect environmentally sensitive glaciers by imposing strict limits on mining. The measure prohibits mining near glaciers along Argentina's border with Chile. Barrick Gold appears to have suspended the Pascua Lama project not only in Chile but also in Argentina


Updated 24th of January 2018: the operations have been definitively closed
Sources and Materials

Mine Law 24585

Law 26418

Decree 1837/2008

Resolución de Calificación Ambiental (Chilean legislation)


Mineria. Impactos sociales y ambientales. World Rainforest Movement. 2004

El exilio del Cóndor: Hegemonía transnacional en la frontera. El Tratado Minero entre Chile y Argentina. Alcayaga, Julian; Luna, Diego; Padilla, Cesar. OLCA. 2004
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Informe con fotos para 2013, el proyecto está cerrando
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Proyecto minero de Pascua Lama, Termoeléctrica para Pascua Lama, OLCA
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No a la Mina, San Juan, Argentina
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Barrick Gold
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La jornada más negra para Pascua Lama: proceso de sanción vuelve a cero y surgen nuevos cargos, Carcamo, H., 23/04/2015
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Pascua Lama: Chile frena proyecto y multa a la Barrick Gold, LaVoz, 24/05/2013
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Urgente:imágenes hasta ahora ocultas de basurales escondidos en glaciares en faena de Pascua Lama, Greenpeace Chile, 16/10/2015
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Other Documents

Pascua Lama Open pit
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March against the Pascua Lama mine on the Argentinian-Chilean border December 2005,
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorLucie Greyl
Last update17/04/2018