Julio C Avila from the Tucuman University in Argentina concludes his paper Mining and the Environment in Argentina: Analysis of controversial cases by stating (I edit for readability):

Examples analyzed in this paper clearly indicate that there is a conflict between the Argentina National Mining Code and some provincial “anti mining” laws. This causes judicial and legal insecurity that discourages the investments in the mining industry.

Consequently as soon as possible, the national and provincial authorities should come to an agreement to eliminate the conflicting norms.

This paper also demonstrates that in several cases the mining companies have not had a “flowing” [successful] communication with the communities, NGO and local authorities. Mining companies should demonstrate in a continuous dialogue that they will use clean technologies in the whole mining process, including mine closure,

The residents should have access and participation to all the information related to the environmental impact of the process.

Here is what he tells of Esquel:

This is the first case of an organized, strong “anti mining” reaction in Argentina. The deposit is located 14 km from the town of Esquel, in the county of Chubut. The deposit is an epithermal gold deposit. It was predicted to produce 10 tons of fine gold per year during eight years.

From the first exploration stages in 1997 and during development of drill holes, it prompted a rejection in the population. This popular rejection strongly increased until 2003 when there was a plebiscite among the residents: 81% voted NO to the mine.

The company consulted the international consultant Business Social for Responsibility (BSR) who concluded that some of the main reasons for the large NO vote was the great fear of the residents about: cyanide; contamination of water; and the “scarce” information provided by the company about possible positive and negative impacts of the mine on the environment.

With this popular victory, the environmentalists pressed so that the provincial government sanctioned, in 2006, a law that prohibits for three years metal mining in an important area of the county.

This paper and a number of others have just been added to the InfoMine library courtesy of Raj Singal who gave us permission to choose and post our favorites from the CD of the proceedings of the conference he organized called Mine Planning and Equipment Selection and Environmental Issues and Waste Management in Energy and Mineral Production for the 2007 conference held in Bangkok, Thailand. The full CD is available through the InfoMine eStore.