This is a letter addressed to the activists of No Dirty Gold, about the Navidad-Calcatreu project:

«Dear NGO – Fellow Activists and Colleagues at No dirty Gold,

This battle is being fought between two CANADIAN mining companies IMA and Aquiline for control over one of the largest Silver-Gold deposits in Latin America. Where is the fight happening over these huge deposits beneath the Patagonian surface?…no ,not in Argentina but in a far off foreign land: in the Canadian province of British Columbia at the provincial Supreme Court level… As this case evolves it happens completely above the heads and in total contempt of the Argentinean peoples' sovereign right to control THEIR nation's natural resources and THEIR right as part of a free and open democratic society to be informed about this crucial case. Yet the court case proceeds gingerly as if they, the citizens of a major democratic nation in the Americas are not concerned by this at all.

The Navidad- Calcatreu project is just one of the many gold and silver mines now in operation or planned ones which have caused terrible environmental harm to human and eco systems in Patagonia and Argentina as a whole. These highly destructive mines use toxic cyanide mining to process the plundered precious metals, Often this procedure results as scientific facts show in the contamination of groundwater and the poisoning of plant and wild life and humans in the affected areas in this case the magnificent tourist- haven Patagonia region. Another bizarre and perhaps somewhat sinister aspect of this case is how little media attention is being payed to it so far in the Argentinean media. This international case which will have a tremendous impact on the nation, and on how foreign mining companies will conduct themselves in Latin America in the future, is totally absent in the political arena. Besides getting some passing mention in the Canadian press ( only in the business section so far as if this matter is ONLY a concern worthy of interest to international investors in the mine) it appears to be completely unnoticed in the media where the case is most relevant, that is in Argentina. This is all going on as if it were totally normal and an everyday event when two foreign companies fight for control for a huge tract of land in a foreign court room while absolutely ignoring a functioning judicial system in the state where the dispute originates. This is a virtual litigation involving only the two companies' interests and in absolute disregard for the interests of those most concerned by the case the citizens of Argentina. As IMA vs. Aquiline tussle for the control of gold and silver in a remote and far flung territory it evokes flashbacks to long gone, old colonial times. But we are in 2006 and not living in the XIXth century and this is going on today, and right now, and in contempt of the rule of law in Argentina. The IMA vs. Aquiline affair is a flagrant example of the utter scorn most foreign owned companies ( in this case both are Canadian ) who are aided and abetted by diplomats representing their home country. The people of Patagonia have the right to be represented at all the legal proceedings, yet they are not. They must be heard as this matter is of vital concern to them.

So far news from the Navidad site located in Rio Negro province, indicates is that there is growing local opposition go the planned mine yet the proposed Navidad – Calcatreu project is still in the works even as the court case and the litigation challenging the ownership of the mine site proceeds in a business as usual fashion back in Canada. Meanwhile company concerns about the negative impact on the mining industry as a whole and the potential for very negative media attention the court battle if it drags on may have on the two companies' image have prompted their legions of corporate lawyers to seek to find an «amicable gentlemen’s' agreement» to exploit the mine in joint fashion agreeable to both parties and their nervous investors. This curious case has been one of the most underreported stories of 2005; however that may change in 2006 with your help in this campaign to stop the entire project.

Cordially yours

Michael Werbowski
NO to the Navidad – Calcatreu Silver Gold Mine Campaign ( Argentina)»