May 24, 2013
Future of Vale mine in Mendoza shrouded in uncertainty
Leaders of the Mendoza province mining sector yesterday expressed their “uncertainty” over the future of Brazilian Vale mining company’s potash extraction project in Malargüe ahead of the provincial government’s deadline tomorrow for the firm to submit its work plan.
Vale “indefinitely” suspended its activity in Malargüe two weeks ago without clarification, affecting approximately 4,000 workers, although the UOCRA union was able to strike a deal with the firm to ensure the payment of salaries.
The Brazilian firm has simultaneously been accused by environmental group People’s Water Assembly for “social and environmental damages in 38 countries, which also alleged that most “workers will lose their jobs shortly” because according to its investigation only “386 workers” will remain on site permanently.
Mendoza Governor Francisco Pérez threatened Vale with revoking its licence unless it presents a work plan, an ultimatum which expires tomorrow, while Mendoza Mining Services Chamber president Carlos Ferrer maintained the situation was one of “uncertainty,” deploring the lack of “official” information.
Ferrer revealed that a “liaison board” has been formed to meet with and “request” a solution “from Vale (and) the governor,” arguing a “severe employee and union” situation “exists,” and expressing a will to cooperate with UOCRA and local unions. “On Monday we should all be working,” he added.
People’s Water Assembly criticized Vale for having been voted the “worst company in the world in the Public Eye Awards,” known as the Nobel (prize) of shame in the business world, with over 25,000 votes.” The organization added that “the firm is known to impose conditions to peoples and governments, for not respecting communities and for having a great thirst to accumulate profit without consideration for social and environmental consequences, nor promoting progress.”
“Neither the government nor the firm have specified how two million daily cubic metres of gas will be supplied that are needed to operate the mine,” the communiqué added, also reprimanding Vale for “evading reports on integral impacts.”
Herald with DyN, Ambito.com