The Muhaida Bell Project was initially developed by the Provincial Corporation Mining Corporation of Neuquén (Cormine), which left environmental liabilities of the previous exploitation, of copper, which affect the daily life of the Mapuche communities that live that territory. In 2008, the company China MCC (Metallurgical Construction Corporation) intended to continue with an exploration program, with the support of the provincial government, but had a strong resistance from local communities, which had already rejected another metalliferous project (Lonco), in Lancoopué. The project had been exploited in the Cerro Three Tips, sacred place from the Mapuche indigenous worldview. To the already shaped Aval (Assembly of autoconvocados neighbors of Loncopué) joined the Assembly of Autoconvocated Neighbors of Bell Mahuida (Avacam), and the Mapuche Mellao Morales community, since the mining project was intended to settle in its territory, without having made the consultation , mandatory according to the legislation in force in the country. Local institutions were also added, such as the hospital, the presence of teachers favored that the issue was present in schools, and rural cranks and associations were also adding up. The local parish was constituted in a meeting place and information collection on the subject, and the national team of the aboriginal pastoral (Endepa) provided advice to the Mapuche community, who initiated a judicial cause for the lack of prior consultation.
|Name of conflict:||Mahuide Bell (Popular Consultation), Loncoopué, Neuquén, Argentina|
|State or province:||Neuquén.|
|Location of conflict:||Lancopué.|
|Accuracy of location||MEDIUM (Regional level)|
|Type of conflict. 1st level:||Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction|
|Type of conflict. 2nd level:||Mining exploration and/or ore extraction|
Mahuide bell is the only mine that is evaluated in the province, that is, it is in feasibility, ready to start working.
It is located in the Paraje de Campana Mahida, and is owned by the province (through Cormine), who signed an agreement with the Chinese company.
Mahuide bell is a small disseminated copper mine, it has 600,000 tons of copper.
|Type of population||Semi-urban|
|Start of the conflict:||2008|
|Company names or state enterprises:||Metallurgical Construction Corporation (MCC) from China|
Corporación Minera del Neuquén (CORMINE) from Argentina - Dueña de los derechos mineros
|Relevant government actors:||Provincial Government of Neuquén. Cormine Loncoopué mayor. Lancopué deliberant Council (Legislative Power). Zapala's court. Superior Court of Justice of Neuquén (TSJ) Provincial direction of mining. Minister of Territorial Development of Neuquén. Neuquén Security Minister. Municipal Commissioner Board (JUCOM). Defender of the people of Neuquén. Provincial deputies (legislators).|
|Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:||Aval (Assembly of autoconvocados neighbors of Loncoopué), Avacam (Assembly of self-supporting neighbors of Mahuida bell), Mapuche Mellao Morales community. Rural Development Association (AFR) Huecú Co. National Team of Aboriginal Pastoral (Endepa) Permanent Forum of Neuquén (Foperma), Madres de Plaza de Mayo of Neuquén and Alto Valley.|
|Intensity||MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)|
|Reaction stage||PREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)|
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local government/political parties
|Forms of mobilization:||Blockades|
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Referendum other local consultations
|Environmental Impacts||Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Food insecurity (crop damage), Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills|
|Socio-economical Impacts||Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place|
|Other socio-economic impacts||Breach of existing environmental and indigenous legislation.|
|Conflict outcome / response:||Institutional changes|
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
|Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:||Yes|
|Briefly explain:||The project was slowed down by demonstrating its non-compliance with environmental and indigenous matters. A coordinated network was generated between different organizations that, also led a referendum, the second consultation carried out in Argentina. The brake on the mining project in Locopué constituted a triumph also shared by organizations of the provincial capital, which had accompanied the resistance. Jurisprudence was generated in terms of environmental and indigenous law.|
|Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)|
|References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries|
|Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network|
Mapuche communities opposing mining
No a la Mina. marcha septiembre 2009. Foto de AVAL
No pasarán. Fotografía de AVAL, 2009.
Loncopué libre de megaminería, por decisión de su gente.
Mural realizado sobre la pared de la parroquia local. Foto de Lucrecia Wagner, septiembre de 2016.