A Perfect Uproar at Pascua- Lama and Canadian Miner Barrick[

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A Perfect Uproar at Pascua- Lama and Canadian Miner Barrick[


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Gold mining, with harsh chemicals, copious waste and a history of destroying ecosystems, is arguably one of the world’s dirtiest industries. It was a precept, which helped build the Canadian miner Barrick into the world’s biggest gold producer, but ultimately forced the shutdown of its most ambitious project – Pascua Lama in Argentina and Chile border. Company faced social license crisis where Barrick considerably failed in working with community and stakeholders by demonstrating to them that it is in everybody’s best interest to develop the Pascua Lama mine. Company makes high profile effort to explore what went wrong and determined to do the “right thing” in order to see the project through.

In this paper I have identified material issues with supporting evidence that would have caused to put Pascua Lama Project on hold.  While acknowledging that there are some more material issues affected this project, this analysis is framed around the community engagement, economic development and water management. It is recommended, company’s high level commitment for responsible mining, supported by a robust governance framework. The following ground level recommendations are presented related to the identified material issues as moving forward strategy.

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  • Community Relationship Management System
  • Community Agreements
  • Local Induction course for staff with local involvement
  • Community information Centre
  • Partnership with NGO for community engagement   activities
  • Buying locally and promote agriculture
  • Reinstate water infrastructure project including all stakeholders
  • Education Development plan
  • Community participatory water monitoring program
  • Seek Innovative water management technologies


Barrick is a Canadian based international gold mining company operating across 5 continents. Company promotes its vision to be “the world’s best gold mining company by operating in a safe, profitable and responsible manner” and articulates the values: Integrity, Respect and open communication, Responsibility and accountability, Teamwork and creating shareholder value.

Pascua Lama is gold, silver and copper mine on the border of Chile and Argentina, in the commune of Alto del Carmen, Province of Huasco in Chile. Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold obtained development license from both the countries for the project. Pascua-Lama underwent a rigorous environmental impact assessment in Chile and Argentina prior to its approval. According to the geographical   landscape of Pascua Lama, most of the mine’s pit is in Chile and 80% of the site including processing and logistics facilities would be in Argentina.