ARGENTINA - The Argentine senate has passed glacier protection legislation banning mineral and oil and gas exploration in certain areas, notably glaciers at low and middle elevations. The bill that was approved 35 to 33 with one abstention after it had been modified by the lower house of the legislature.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Daniel Filmus and Deputy Miguel Bonasso, defines glaciers as "a pubic good". That gives the federal government, rather than provinces, authority over them. Mineral exploration, oil and gas exploration and other industrial activities are banned to protect the glaciers. The bill does not define periglacial zones, those areas adjacent to glaciers but not buried by ice.
The new Argentine law is not expected to stop the 750,000-oz/year Pascua Lama gold project of Toronto-based Barrick Gold. The mine site straddles the boarder of Argentina and Chile high in the Andes Mountains. About three-quarters of the 17.5-million-oz resource lie on the Chilean side.
See www.BarrickGold.com for details of the Pascua Lama project.