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Glacier Protection Law enacted by Argentina in 2011 is indeed constitutional, according to the country's top court.
Argentina’s supreme court unanimously rejected Tuesday a challenge to the law brought by the Canadian miner Barrick Gold, Minera Argentina Gold, and San Juan’s province, who attempted to topple the national Law prohibiting mining, oil and gas projects in glacier and in permafrost areas passed by the country's Congress in 2011.
“Miners have long marked this region for its rich gold, silver and copper deposits, and have been on standby for nearly a decade awaiting a judicial decision from Argentina’s top tribunal as to whether or not they could mine in glacier terrain,” said Jorge Daniel Taillant, executive director, Center for Human Rights and Environment in a media statement.
Environmentalists celebrated the verdict and asked for the closing down of Veladero Gold mine which is one of the most important mines in the world and is owned by Barrick Gold.
Argentina is Latin America's second largest reserve of solid water right after Chile and is part of the 15 countries with the biggest glaciers in the world.
Environmentalists consider that Tuesday's supreme court’s ruling is going to become a milestone for glaciers preservation, they also hope it is going to halt 44 mining projects nearby or on bodies of ice that are currently being evaluated.
“The request of Barrick to declare the unconstitutionality of the national regulations has been a perverse move that fortunately lost. Now, it is necessary to enforce the law and close Veladero. We cannot allow more mining on the glaciers of the Argentines," said Gonzalo Strano, a Greenpeace Argentina spokesperson in a media statement.
The mining companies have not issued any statement yet.