Córdoba prohibits open pit mining

Córdoba prohibits open pit mining

The Superior Court of Justice (TSJ) declared the constitutionality of the provincial mining law (9526) that prohibits metalliferous mining "in the open" or when substances such as cyanide, mercury "and others classified as dangerous are used."

The Business Chamber of Mining of the Province of Córdoba (Cemicor) and the Association of Professionals of the National Atomic Energy Commission (APCNEAN) had requested that it be declared unconstitutional due to the restrictions they imposed on the activity.

The members of the Supreme Court concluded that these restrictions respond to protecting the environment "as a supreme collective good."

The Court also decreed that the regulation is not unconstitutional because it was issued "within the jurisdiction of the province of Córdoba in environmental matters."

Water protection

In their argumentation, the magistrates who are members of the high judicial body explained that the purpose of this law is to “protect a reasonable use of water and maintain the polluting effects of certain and specific mining activities, practices and processes at acceptable levels, for which it has had in especially note that the chemical leaching method is unacceptable from a contemporary environmental perspective ”.

"There is consensus in the literature that no industrial activity is as aggressive to the environment as open pit metal mining," the members of the ruling remarked.

The protection of the water resources of the province was one of the strongest arguments of the court, since they stressed that it is a "unique and irreplaceable good for all humanity."

“It has been affirmed that one of these mines can use between 50,000 and 300,000 liters of water per minute once in operation,” the members of the Supreme Court stressed and stressed that, according to a report that is working on the cause, “in the La Alumbrera mine (Catamarca) 100,000,000 liters are consumed per day and in Veladero (San Juan), about 70,000,000 liters per day ”.

In the judgment, the members took into account the experience in the province, with the cases of the uranium processing plant in "Los Gigantes" and the waste from the manufacturing complex created in 1952, where uranium concentration activities were carried out and development of associated processes and where the uranium dioxide (UO2) production plant operated, operated by Dioxitek and a geology team from the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) and support for other activities, which was recently closed and is located in Alta Córdoba.

The law prohibits open pit mining but allows other less aggressive exploitations to develop on the soil of the province of Córdoba.

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