In the face of intense local opposition, Canadian gold mining company Osisko has suspended a proposed project in Argentina’s western La Rioja province. The “Famatina project,” which the company insists is still in its speculative phase, had met with resistance from environmentalists who complained it woud require millions of liters of water per day and the use of cyanide to access and extract precious metals.
On Jan. 2, protesters blockaded a dirt road leading into the mountainous Famatina area, stopping anyone affiliated with Osisko, but allowing tourists and locals to freely pass by. They were joined by hundreds of people who held solidarity protests outside the Canadian embassy against the project in Buenos Aires. Osisko shouldn’t have been surprised by the local reaction; Barrick Gold, another Canadian mining giant, pulled out of La Rioja five years ago, when it was pursuing a project in the same mountain range.