BUENOS AIRES – Seven Greenpeace members climbed the iconic Obelisk in downtown Buenos Aires on Thursday to demand the closing of a gold mine in western Argentina where there was a cyanide spill in 2015, a spokesman for the environmental group said.
The environmental activists rappelled the 40-meter (131-foot) monument to hang a banner reading: “Macri will save the glaciers,” a reference to President Mauricio Macri.
“We come to ask the president for enforcement of the Glaciers Act and the closing of the Veladero mine (in the western province of San Juan), as we did with the previous government,” Greenpeace Glaciers Campaign coordinator Gonzalo Strano said in a statement.
“Mining companies such as (Canada’s) Barrick Gold (at Veladero) should not be allowed to operate in the periglacial area, where they put rivers at risk of pollution as they did last year with a spill of 1 million liters (265,190 gallons) of cyanide-contaminated water,” Greenpeace said.
Greenpeace is requesting enforcement of the 2010 Glaciers Act, which bans extractive activities, such as mining and oil production, in glacial, periglacial and permafrost areas to protect water resources.
In September 2015, a leak at the Veladero gold mine on the Andean ridge spilled 1,072 cubic meters (37,785 cubic feet) of cyanide-polluted water, Barrick Gold estimated.
Provincial officials fined Barrick Gold and the Argentine courts are still investigating the spill.