Support to Communities Affected by Mining en Esquel

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Esquel, Chubut

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26 Oct 2009

Support to Communities Affected by Mining

Patagonia Volunteer
Support to Communities Affected by Mining

Job type:

Non Profit, Environment and Ecology, Human Rights and Civil Liberties

The people of Esquel got self organized at the end of 2002 so as to reject the mega open pit mining project in which gold was to be extracted by means of cyanide leaching, for which 6 tons of cyanide and 12 millions litres of fresh water were to be used daily. The project site is only 8 kilometres away from the town and close to important fresh water sources. On 23rd March 2003, 81% of the community voted, in a non-binding plebiscite, against the project of the Canadian mining company, Meridian Gold. This democratic and participative action, which is a landmark in the provincial and national social history, has set an example and has encouraged other communities of Argentina, affected or threatened by similar mining projects, to resist these highly hazardous activities. However, the will expressed by the community in the plebiscite is not respected by the interested company, which keeps trying to find a way round the determination of the neighbours, so as to carry out this mining project nonetheless. Also, the local and provincial government has been bought by the multinational mining lobby and acts against the decision of the community.

MAPU Association is currently cooperating with the Assembly of Self-Organized Neighbours against Mining, of the city of Esquel, Chubut province, in the Argentinean Patagonia, with the national and international awareness campaign regarding the issue of the communities affected by mining, to contribute to raising awareness of the environmental, social and economic dangers of metal mining exploitation, about the plundering of the developing countries promoted by the governments, the world’s financial entities and the international mining lobby, etc.

To this end, MAPU provides web hosting and technical support for the Neighbours Assembly’ website, organizes and coordinates the translation of relevant information into English and German through virtual volunteers so as to spread internationally information about the communities affected or threatened by mining.

The activities related to this volunteering placement include: edition and translation of texts, coordination and follow-up of virtual volunteers, searching and processing information, developing presentations, writing reports and press releases, contacting other communities affected by mining, assisting in the organization and coordination of activities –talks, assemblies, meetings-, rising awareness about this issue, participating in meetings, assemblies, etc.

The objective of this volunteering placement is that you support Argentinean and Chilean communities affected or threatened by mining to raise awareness at an international level about this issue and about the dangers of mega mining as a non-sustainable high impact activity on the environment, on the local economies, and on the social balance. Also, the long term objective of this volunteering placement is to build a network of multipliers from different parts of the world who support the local communities.

Intermediate level of Spanish, and English or German as mother tongue are required.

To perform your volunteer work, you would need to pay a fee of 250 € to the MAPU Association. This amount includes your annual membership fee to MAPU Association (50€) and your one time volunteer placement organization fee (200€). Through your annual membership fee, which you will decide whether you renew the following year, and the payment of the organization of your volunteer placement, you will not only contribute to finance the MAPU Association projects, but you will also be able to keep volunteering, as a member of MAPU, in every available project in Patagonia which fits your profile without having to pay another fee. Also, you will get help organizing your trip, finding an accommodation at a reasonable local price with a local host family and all the support you may need for this experience.

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