The law — passed by the Argentine congress in October — potentially complicated plans by the world’s biggest gold miner, Barrick Gold Corporation, to construct a US$2.4 billion mine in the peaks straddling Argentina’s border with Chile. The project faced fierce opposition from green activists in Chile, but eventually was approved by the Chilean government after Barrick Gold promised not to touch the Andean glaciers along the remote site.
Environmental campaigners condemned the Argentine veto of the glacier law, which they saw as a vital tool to protect, study and monitor glaciers in the face of global warming. "If these natural storage tanks of fresh water supply us with drinking water, supply farming, industry and help generate electricity, then we think water is worth more than gold," said Norberto Ovando, vice president of the Friends of the National Parks association.
Terming the ban on mining and oil drilling “excessive”, Fernández’s veto decree said it “would give environmental considerations pre-eminence over activities that could be undertaken in a way that protects the environment”.
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