Posts Tagged ‘copper’

Chile: Proposed privatization of lithium mining generates political, economic and social conflicts

Thursday, August 16th, 2012


((Demonstrators in Santiago, June 22 — photo by Mario Ruiz))

[Translation of an article from Opera Mundi of São Paulo for August 12, 2012. See original here and related article here.]

by Victor Farinelli

Faced with the prospect that 30 years from now its copper deposits will not produce the same as they are producing now, Chile is seeking alternatives to one of the pillars of its economy. Sale of ore is the principal force behind the Chilean GDP and accounts for more than half the country’s exports.

Among the several options, one in particular has the potential of replacing copper in its importance in the Chilean economy: the mining of lithium. The few reserves of lithium already being exploited in Chile represent 41 percent of world production of the mineral and the demand is growing exponentially.

Beyond that, the country is part of the region termed the Lithium Triangle, a name given the triple border between Chile, Bolivia and Argentina, which accounts for close to 85 percent of the known reserves of the material. (more…)

Chile: Mine supervisors oppose privatization of lithium production

Friday, June 15th, 2012


((El Mostrador photo))

[Translations of two articles, the first from El Clarín for June 13, 2012, the second from El Mostrador for June 14. See originals here and here and related articles here and here. Copper mining in Chile, nationalized in 1971, is under the control of CODELCO, Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile, the National Copper Corporation of Chile.]

Government plans to hand lithium mining over to private corporations

The government yesterday opened domestic and international public bidding for the exploitation of the country’s lithium mines, which has until now been in the hands of two state enterprises. The winning bidders will be able to extract as much as 100,000 tons of the metal for a period 20 years and will have to pay the state seven percent of the monthly profits as royalties.

Lithium, also known as “white gold,” is used in automobile, cell-phone and computer batteries but also in glass making and medicines. (more…)

Resurgence of gold fever endangers forests and peoples of Latin America

Monday, May 14th, 2012


((Construction of a road leading to deposits of gold, silver and copper in Trou du Nord, Haiti — AP photo))

[Translation of an article by Agence France Presse as published in La Jornada of Mexico City on May 13.  See original here.]

A resurgent gold fever has put Latin America at risk: tropical forests devastated by illegal operations where the law of the jungle rules, local communities at war against investment projects by large international mining companies.

The appetite for gold and other metals has generated a boom for informal mining, especially in Peru, Colombia and Bolivia, and put the formal industry at a peak, with projected investments of 300 billion dollars by 2020, according to the Sociedad Interamericana de Minería.

Regardless, 162 conflicts over mining have broken out all over the region because of the opposition of local communities to projects they see as threats, especially because of their great consumption of water, according to the Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina. (more…)

Chile: Resources plundered in broad daylight

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

An interview with economist José Manuel Flores

[Translation of an interview from Brasil de Fato for March 5, 2011. See original here.]

by Pedro Carrano

Since 1973, the Chilean economy has traced a long path, beginning with the coup headed by General Augusto Pinochet against the popular government of Salvador Allende, and today is being consolidated into an economy controlled by large domestic and foreign businesses that holds the line on exportation and keeps the internal market strangled – despite representing only one percent of the productive capacity of the country. So they control 80 percent of the internal market and provide jobs for only 20 percent of the population.

This is the analysis of Chilean economist José Manuel Flores. In a country in which neoliberalism has gained hegemony and has brought about a radical alteration in the economy, the export of copper is central, a target of control and export. “Before, copper was exported and now copper concentrate, its raw material, is being exploited. Transnationals control 76 percent of Chilean copper,” the economist calculates. In an interview with Brasil de Fato, Flores talks about the relation between natural resources and the Chilean economy, the failure of the Concertación as an alternative government after Pinochet’s departure, and now as the opposition to the government of rightist Sebastián Piñera, in office for a year. In this scenario, popular movements take on a new importance. The recent popular revolt in the province of Magallanes against an increase in the price of gas demonstrates this. (more…)

Danger of social outbreak in Panama over mining

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Indigenous peoples protest against Martinelli government’s offering their lands to foreigners

“Mining = Death, Hunger, Blood and, for the Congressmen, Benefits” — ContraPunto photo

[Translation of an article from ContraPunto of San Salvador, El Salvador, for February 18. See original here.]

By Fernando de Dios

The reform of the Mineral Resources Code approved last Thursday by Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli has sparked rejection by a number of social sectors led by the indigenous peoples of the Ngäbe Buglé district, in the west of the country.

They have organized protests in the past few weeks and the situation threatens to bring on a re-enactment of the violent repression that occurred in the Bocas de Toro province last July, which cost the lives of ten people. (more…)