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Another mining hoax. Cerro Solo, Chubut: the fabulous uranium business

Another mining hoax. Cerro Solo, Chubut: the fabulous uranium business


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By Javier Rodríguez Pardo

Molybdenum appears in Cerro Solo with an average grade of 0.3% over 1,500 tons, but –according to the geologists who worked in the deposit– the associated presence of rhenium is much more important. In the folder submitted to the Chubut Provincial Executive, we exposed our opposition to territorial damage and looting that meant giving away three critical and strategic metals.


Cerro Solo is an important uranium deposit located in the north center of Chubut. In 1997, consultants from Nuclear Assurance Corporation International completed the pre-feasibility study, but all the effort, and the work expenses, was borne by the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) itself.

The deposit was tendered in 1999 with a content of 4,600 tons of uranium, according to 410 perforations. On that occasion, several mining corporations from South Africa, Australia, Canada, France and the United States rejected the concession and a single mega-mining company formalized a proposal but rejecting the previous payment of 3 million dollars that the CNEA (the Argentine State) demanded for its investigations. fields already carried out, money that was logical to recover.

Whoever writes this had given the governor of Chubut at that time, Carlos Maestro (UCR), the complete information denouncing that the tender did not properly include the exploitation of important deposits of molybdenum and rhenium that accompanied the uranium, the reason for the offer. Molybdenum appears in Cerro Solo with an average grade of 0.3% over 1,500 tons, but –according to the geologists who worked in the deposit– the associated presence of rhenium is much more important. This confirmation was kept silent. In the folder submitted to the Chubut Provincial Executive, we exposed our opposition to territorial damage and looting that meant giving away three critical and strategic metals.

To these omissions in the tender had to be added a greater one: the tender was for 4,600 tons of uranium but the extended area of ​​Cerro Solo contains more than 10,000 tons of this nuclear fuel and, of course, a good amount of molybdenum and rhenium that would have to be taken away. for the same price. Rhenium is a metal that is used in steel alloys in the aeronautical industry and for which almost 25 thousand dollars a kilo was paid. While molybdenum, during 2009, was a mineral hit by the global economic collapse due to the blows of Wall Street, but it is estimated that in the course of 2010 it will comfortably exceed 60 dollars per kilo.

These associated metals are used to mitigate the costs of the mother farm, the main reason for the extraction. That is, the mining companies understand that in the exploitation agreements or tenders these by-products pay for the extractive activity, as if it were a pact, an agreement of the parties, and therefore they are not denounced at customs, despite the fact that the Mining companies dedicate special recovery plants for these elements that usually leave billions in dividends. These metals accompany the uranium from Cerro Solo.


Some time ago I published in Chubut newspapers that the prospecting and exploration of Cerro Solo also included the use of a DC3 aircraft equipped to track a uraniferous basin of enormous proportions, which extends from the north-central province of Chubut to the center of Santa Cross. In Chubut, geologists and CNEA technicians worked to obtain core samples and to design an area with four well-defined uranium bodies. In the Los Adobes sheds, the control samples that respond to the different wells surveyed are classified and at present there are about 50 people operating at 450 pesos per day of per diem each, with separate salaries of 4,000 and 5,000 pesos per month, in addition to clothing, fuel, motor means, housing, medical assistance. A waste. They are luxury wage earners in a country decimated by unemployment and poverty. They are employees who do not consume anything in the surrounding towns, such as Paso de Indios, a town of 1,070 inhabitants that the CNEA uses as its head; even mineral water is supplied from the Chubut coast.

Invited by the CNEA, I slept in Los Adobes, in the heart of the Chubut plateau, and there I discussed that mine, never remedied, abandoned for more than 25 years. It was in 1997. We toured Los Adobes, Cerro Cóndor and Cerro Solo, a site related to the previous ones. We could say that the first exploitations of the CNEA were for domestic consumption (190 tons of uranium in total, from Los Adobes and Cerro Cóndor), now there are more than 10,000 tons of uranium and they continue to disclose that it is fuel for the nuclear power plants of the country. We all know that it will not. The intrigues and internal discussions in the offices of the Commission reveal conflicting positions between employees of a developmental, nationalist, neoliberal dye, and some engineer from the past national left. Some and others hold antagonisms about a mineral that - they speculate - “should be exploited massively throughout the Argentine territory”; that is, maintain some deposits for local production and tender internationally for others, leave exploitation in the hands of transnational companies with some official participation, exploit the mineral for own consumption only, exchange part of it for state-of-the-art technology, accumulate own uranium basins as a future reserve Considering it critical and strategic (the San Jorge gulf basin, still under investigation), etc., it forms part of the discussion of the sector, but in most of these professionals silence is the ideal slogan to continue maintaining positions of privilege. The same silence that hides the disappearance of twenty physicists from that institution at the hands of the military dictatorship in the seventies.

The CNEA autarky retains the stamp of its last mentor, Admiral Carlos Castro Madero. The Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ARN) also comes from there because in reality the CNEA controls itself. The CNEA and its derivatives integrate a fiefdom of barons of the atom with total independence, supported and financed by a people that ignores many answers and that still wonders what is the real cost of the core-electric kilowatt, what will be the real cost of Atucha II (the center of the financial scandals), when will the uranium mines, which cause terminal pathologies, abandoned more than two decades ago be remedied, when will the PRAMU, a project to remediate those mines, be made official, when will the contamination verified by the Justice and the Ezeiza nuclear complex with its rusty trenches, a grave of nuclear waste spilled on the Puelche aquifer, will be closed accordingly; when they will confiscate the two nuclear power plants with their useful lives already expired and when will the millionaire destiny of budgeted items managed debauchery be known. When?

Meanwhile, several lawsuits for corruption and embezzlement of CNEA funds await sentencing, although there are many more legal cases that an uncontrolled institution that feudally administers the treasury assigned to it by the National Executive Power, on whom it depends on direct way. For now, the expectation haunts the final ruling of the National Criminal and Correctional Court No. 1 (raids in CNEA, NASA and Dioxitec 11/6/2007, for the disappearance of six million dollars) and we also await the sentences of the same Court No. 1 in case B103302 / 2007, No. 7 Secretariat 13, case 4415/2007, No. 6 Secretariat 12, case 5587/2007, and that of the Criminal Court No. 8 for multiple irregularities detected by SIGEN, but it would be necessary to investigate from its founding in 1950 and we would see the folly of the projected values ​​of nuclear plants and their final cost. In reality, obtaining radioisotopes justifies the CNEA's immodest cynicism and the well-known expression “cutting edge technology”, because, let's understand this, criticizing the CNEA and giving an opinion to the contrary implies the risk of being branded a caveman.

This article was published in the printed edition of CRITICA Sunday, January 31, 2010.- Javier Rodriguez Pardo en Author of They come for gold, they come for everything.


Video: Mining Project Pitches hosted by Commodity TV (June 2022).


Comments:

  1. Bodwyn

    I didn't understand everything.

  2. Caldre

    What is he planning?

  3. Gogu

    why is it so fired !!!!!!!!

  4. Shakora

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  5. Zoloktilar

    What phrase... super, remarkable idea



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