Mining sector in Argentina
Lead NCPArgentina
Supporting NCP(s)Australia
DescriptionSpecific instance notified by the NGO CEDHA regarding the activities of a Xstrata Copper, an Argentinian subsidiary of Glencore Cooper, an Australian multinational enterprise operating in Argentina. Specific instance transferred to the Argentinian NCP by the Australian NCP.
Theme(s)Disclosure, Environment, General policies
Date16 Sep 2011
Host country(ies)Argentina
Industry sectorMining and quarrying

Read the final statement issued by the Argentinian NCP concluding the specific instance - 3 November 2014 | Spanish

In June 2011, the Australian NCP received a request for review from the Argentinian NGO CEDHA alleging that Xstrata Copper, an Argentinian subsidiary of Glencore Cooper, an Australian multinational enterprise had breached the general policies, disclosure, and environment provisions of the Guidelines in Argentina. The NGO called on the company to cease all types of activity related to the El Pachón rock glacier due to its negative environmental impact.
The Australian NCP transferred the request to the Argentinian NCP and, on 10 August 2011, issued a public statement regarding the transfer.

The Argentinian NCP received the request for review in September 2011 and, after undertaking an initial assessment of the specific instance, concluded that it merited further consideration and offered its good offices to the parties in order to facilitate a dialogue to reach an understanding that would be mutually beneficial.

In May 2012, the company provided further information that had been requested by the ANCP on the status of the field survey and the corresponding technical study. The company stated that it had successfully conducted the field works required for the preparation of the technical report, and reiterated the will of the company to work on the initiative of a Protocol for Mining Activities in glacier areas and periglacial environments announced by CEDHA on 8 October 2011. The company felt that it was important to involve both the Federal Government and the Provincial and Municipal Governments to participate in the elaboration of said Protocol.

On this occasion, the ANCP recommended both parties that they reach an agreement on a common text before inviting any third parties to participate in the Protocol.

Although CEDHA and Xstrata/Glencore held informal contacts on the draft Protocol for the glacial territory, and despite the fact that the ANCP continued with the specific instance mentioned above, conversations were halted by late 2012 and no progress was observed during 2013.

The ANCP forwarded a letter to the National Directorate for Mining, which is under the authority of the Argentine Mining Secretariat, a letter containing the submission made by CEDHA to the ANCP and the relevant Declaration of Formal Admissibility issued by the ANCP. In turn, the National Directorate for Mining conveyed this information to the Ministry of Mining of the Province of San Juan.

During 2014, on successive occasions, the ANCP called the two parties to a meeting in order to update the status report on the specific instance, but attempts were unsuccessful.

During a meeting held on 10 March 2014, the President of CEDHA reiterated that he considered that the time granted for dialogue had expired, stating that three years had elapsed since it submitted its claim and that, in spite of certain bilateral meetings between CEDHA and the ANCP, as well as between the company and CEDHA, no meeting had been held between the three parties under the good offices of the ANCP. The NGO also considered that Xstrata/Glencore Cooper was disregarding the specific instance and the proceedings before the ANCP.  The company for their part reiterated the need to consult with other federal and provincial entities with respect to CEDHA's attempt to draft a Protocol for mining activities in the glacier area and in the periglacial environment as a pre-condition to the adoption of any measures at this stage.

Following these exchanges, the ANPC analysed its role in this specific instance process and decided that it could no longer fruitfully persist in its role of facilitator. In this respect, the ANPC has attempted to bring the parties together in order to foster dialogue between them, but the conditions imposed by the company to engage in direct dialogue have frustrated this goal. The NCP's final statement gives more information regarding its decision.

The ANCP still encourages the parties to consider finding a way to generate the conditions required to engage in dialogue and constructively work for the resolution of the issues in which they are involved.