The Diaguita are the main Indigenous group in the area of Chile where the Pascua-Lama project is located.
They comprise nearly six percent of the regional population, amounting to some 10,000 Diaguita in the region.
Pascua-Lama is located 80 kilometers from the nearest Diaguita settlement, making them some of the project’s closest neighbors. Barrick continues to engage with the Diaguita and other local communities around the Pascua-Lama project to sustain dialogue and build greater trust; our emphasis is on transparent and open communication.
On May 29, 2014, Barrick announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a group of 12 Diaguita communities and three Diaguita associations in Chile’s Huasco province. While a number of these Diaguita communities have supported legal challenges against the project in Chile, the MoU marked a significant step forward in establishing dialogue and working to build trust with this important stakeholder group.
As part of the agreement, Barrick made technical and environmental information about the Pascua-Lama project available to the communities and provided financial resources and materials required to support an independent analysis of this information. This approach is in line with the company’s commitment to engage with stakeholders in an open and transparent manner while allowing the communities to study and better understand the project, its impacts and its environmental controls. Under the agreement, a Technical Committee was formed to oversee the work, comprised of representatives selected by the MoU signatories. An independent mediator was also appointed.
While this marked a positive step forward in our relationship with Diaguita communities, roughly 30 percent of the Diaguita people organized in communities in the province did not participate in the MoU.
On April 8, 2015, the Technical Committee of the MoU approved the final report and common diagnosis on the Pascua-Lama project. In April 2015, the company and the participating Diaguita communities (including two additional communities) executed a new Environmental and Social Collaboration Agreement (the “Collaboration Agreement”). This Collaboration Agreement established an environmental fund to further review specific aspects of the project of special relevance to the Diaguita people, including the glacier monitoring program, water management system, anthropological and archeological information, and ancestral territory. The Collaboration Agreement also established a social fund to contribute to the communities impacted by significant flooding that occurred in March 2015.
Our temporary suspension plan for Pascua-Lama received approval by the mining authorities in Chile and Argentina in late 2015. Our focus in 2016 will remain on reducing holding costs at the project, while advancing an optimized project plan. As a consequence, the company terminated the Environmental and Social Collaborative Agreement as of September 30, 2015, although we continue to work with the Diaguita leaders to pursue a more long term agreement, taking into account the current state of the project.
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