Friday, October 9, 2009

Our lives for gold's sake?

Our lives for gold's sake?

By Sergio U. Dani

Paracatu-MG, Brazil, Tuesday 8th, September 2009. The day after Independence-Day, a lawsuit was brought before the Paracatu court of law in which Acangau Foundation claims to have perceived imminent damages from Kinross Gold Corporation mining operations to Paracatu's 90,000 inhabitants and the environment.

The civil action proposed by Acangau Foundation is worth R$,00 (US$ 20.5 billion, equivalent to the value of the gold reserves of Kinross' open cut gold mine in Paracatu) to remediate estimated health, environment and social damages imposed to 10% of Paracatu people in the next 30 years of  continuing Kinross' gold mining operations.

This amount may not constitute a remedy for the human lives that are going to be lost or the foreseeable social and economic distresses; but it gives an idea of the unsustainability of Kinross' mining project in Paracatu. The   Paracatu mine gold reserves are worth some US$ 15-20 billion. The arsenic output in mine tailings amount 1 million tonnes. The Paracatu mine is unique in that it has the world's lowest gold grades and world's highest arsenic output, and it is located in the outskirts of a city.

Acangau Foundation's lawsuit is likely to be followed by several other civil and criminal actions as damages start to be felt on a global scale. Several recent geochemical mapping projects have delivered indications for arsenic degassing as an important process leading to arsenic enrichment in the surface environment.

Lawsuit available at:

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