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Ancasti mobilizes against lithium mining, Catamarca, Argentina


The Sierra de Ancasti is located southwest of the province of Catamarca. Its highest part is located near the US 2000., Descending gently to the east, where it is reached until the Salinas area located in northern Córdoba and south of Santiago del Estero [4]. In the cubes covered by Pajonals, rainwater is absorbed that then drains into different slopes and streams that surround the Serrano landscape, surrounded by native forests, in which large number of animal species and wild vegetables coexist. The place stands out for its state of ecological conservation since at the moment there are not registering pollutant activities of great magnitude. The main economic activities are livestock, agriculture and tourism, which are part of a diversity of strategies that carry out the local inhabitants to guarantee their subsistence. We can also highlight the collection of wild fruits for the elaboration of scrap and sweets, quesillos and the manufacture of handicrafts, wool, ceramics and leather, as well as the production of honey and other hive derivatives. The maintenance of environmental conditions is fundamental for the continuity of such activities [1].

In 2017 the Latin Resources company (Latin resources) carries out the Subsoil exploration stage of the "Ancasti Project", lithium extraction in Pegmatite, in different areas of the Sierra de Ancasti [2]. On the one hand in the Ancasti Department; In the towns of Santa Gertrudis and Ipizca, and on the other hand in the High Department, in the town of Vilisman. The explorated sites correspond to ancient Espodumeno mines, where by mid-twenty mica, beryl, quartz and other minerals, semi-art handmade [4].

Upon learning of the progress of mining projects in the area, and worried neighbors begin to organize themselves to investigate the situation and ask for explanations from the municipal government. Following this, the Assembly of Ancasti was formed by life, which subsequently made several presentations at the current ministry of mining in the province to obtain more information, and also carried out different activities for the visibility of the problem, among which we can Highlight the organization of producers, cultural rock organization, screening of documentaries in public spaces, talks and debates, murals and the preparation of printed information material [1]. In addition, the Assembly developed a project that was presented at the Municipal Deliberative Council in May 2017, where the Ordinance of Protected Area and Non-toxic Municipality has been sanctioned, which prohibits the extractive activities contaminating the ecosystems and endangers the health of the habitants. At the end of 2019, a new draft ordinance was presented before the CDM, so that Ancasti was declared agroecological municipality. At that time no responses were obtained from any kind, with which the presentation was made again at the end of 2020, with identical results.

The main question they claim Los and neighbors is that this project advanced illegally, since the regulatory public audience did not take place. On the other hand, a meeting was organized in Vilisman to which only the authorities and some officials of both municipalities were invited, without being socialized the information to the community in general, or before or later. In fact, the neighbors indicate as a central problem that at no time were informed of the progress of these projects, and they learned by the movement of heavy machinery [2].

On the other hand, the fundamental question that generated a sense of alarm in the inhabitants of Ancasti was, and remains, the serious consequences that would bring the installation of these extractive projects in the area, since they would generate an irreversible environmental partner impact, causing water pollution, land and air, putting at risk the continuity of life in the region, taking into account that the Sierra de Ancasti is a water basin that provides different towns that are in and close to the mountains [3]. We can mention the case of the neighboring city of Frías, in the province of Santiago del Estero, where the River falls from the Ancasti, and that supplies the vital fluid to the urban population.

It was aware that other mining pedimentos were granted in the territory, but these projects are in an incipient state [3]. As for the "Ancasti" project, belonging to the company Latin Resources, have not had great news. Only news published in the Digital Diario El Cronista, at the end of 2020, who speak of an association of this company with "Integra Capital", to advance with the exploitation of the mineral [4]. In addition, recently, mixed police movements were observed in the exploration zone, which generated great concern between the neighbors, who decided to make a presentation to the Ministry of Mining requesting the nullity of the Declaration of Environmental Impact of the Project , to consider that it was granted illegally, without complying with the current regulations that guarantees the inhabitants access to public information and citizen participation.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Ancasti mobilizes against lithium mining, Catamarca, Argentina
State or province:Catamarca.
Location of conflict:Ancasti
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mining exploration and/or ore extraction
Specific commodities:Lithium

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The company has not submitted to date the Exploitation Environmental Impact Report, but on its website it presents some data from two areas with apparent mining potential in the province of Catamarca: Zona Ancasti and Villisman area.

According to the Latin Resources website [5] collected in May 2016: 4 samples in the Ancasti area and 12 of the Villisman area. 4 samples are highlighted in three pegmatic deposits within the area studied with 6.6%, 7.1% and 4.9 Li2O concentrations.

Project area:4,000
Level of Investment for the conflictive project650,000.
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:3,000-40,000
Start of the conflict:24/01/2017
Company names or state enterprises:Lake Resources. from Australia
Latin Resources Limited from Australia
Recursos Latinos S. A. from Argentina
Relevant government actors:Government of Catamarca, Ministry of Mining, Provincial management of mining environmental management.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Assembly of Ancasti for life PU.C.A.R.A (Catamaric peoples in resistance and self-determination)

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills, Fires, Global warming, Waste overflow, Food insecurity (crop damage), Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women


Project StatusUnknown
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Project temporarily suspended
Proposal and development of alternatives:Impulse of agroecological projects by the Assembly of Ancasti X Life.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project is temporarily detained but not because environmental justice has been done.

Sources & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)


Código de Mineria. Sanción Ley 1919. Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos. Presidencia de la Nación.

Ley Provincial de Catamarca nº5311 de bosque nativo.

Art. 41 de la Constitución Nacional.

Ordenanza 017/10 del Municipio de Ancasti “Área Protegida y municipio no tóxico”.

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

[1] Habitantes de Ancasti: Seres, Naturalezas y Territorios. Luciana Fernández. Universidad Nacional de Catamarca.

[2] Litio: asambleístas de Catamarca alertan sobre los riesgos de su explotación. Angustina Carrasco. El Perfil. Primero de diciembre de 2020.

[3] Catarmarca. Pobladores se movilizan contra la explotación de dos yacimientos de litio. Gabriela Origlia. La Nación. 24 de febrero de 2021.

[4] Integra Capital y Latin Resources explotarán litio en roca en Catamarca. Apertura. Actualizado el 28 de octubre de 2020.

[5] Latin resources. Catamarca Lithium project

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Canal de YouTube de La Asamblea de Ancasti por la Vida.

Folleto de información sobre la Mega Minería de Ancasti.

Meta information

Contributor:Leonardo Embon [email protected] Asamblea de Ancasti por la Vida y P.U.CA.R.A
Last update04/11/2021
Conflict ID:5688



Acto y mural por Asamblea por


Mapa de acceso al sector de Santa Gertrudis

Fuente: Asamblea por la Vida

Hidrografía de la provincia de Catamarca

Fuente: Asamblea de Ancasti por la Vida

Acto de Asamblea de Ancasti por la Vida

Fuente: Asamblea de Ancasti por la Vida

Concesiones de Ancasti y Villisman en Catamarca

Fuente: El Cronista.