Argentines rally against gold mining plan

Protesters in Argentina say Canadian company's open pit gold mine would hurt water supply in country's northwest.

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    A Canadian company has suspended a proposed gold mining project in Argentina following a series of protests.

    Environmental groups and residents in the town of Famatina say an open pit goldmine by mining company Osisko would pollute the local water supply near the proposed site.

    "They will have to pass over our dead bodies," said Juan Carlos Rivero, a nut farmer in the north western province of La Rioja.

    Residents in Famatina fear the mine would take, and possibly contaminate, the water supply. "Water is worth more than gold," read one sign, a reference to its scarcity in the arid region.

    The 800-person strong protests, along with similar protests in Peru, El Salvador, and Chile, where local communities demanded their interests take precedence over those of mainly foreign mining companies, forced Osisko to suspend exploration plans in Famatina for the time being.

    Pirate prince

    Meanwhile, in the capital Buenos Aires, masked demonstrators threw rocks at British businesses to protest against Britain's continued control of the Falkland Islands, as Prince William arrived in the country.

    About 60 members of the group Quebracho, calling William the 'Pirate Prince', marched to demand sovereignty of the islands for Argentina.

    "We came here today to speak out against this character, but most of all to argue the sovereignty of Las Malvinas. They are trying to step on that sovereignty by talking about people's right to self-determination," said leftist leader Juan Miguel Gomez.

    Britain has controlled the islands, about 480km off the southern Argentine coast, since 1833.

    In 1982, Britain sent a naval force and thousands of troops to reclaim the islands after Argentine forces, sent by the country's then-military rulers, occupied them.

    About 650 Argentine and 255 British troops died in the 10-week conflict.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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