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Pope Francis’s new chalice: A “redemption” for Pan American Silver?
by Luis Manuel Claps, Spanish language editor of Mines and Communities
The Canadian miner, Pan American Silver Corp, has said it will supply a 1.3-kilogram bar of pure silver to make Pope Francis’s new chalice. The metal will come from Pan American’s Manantial Espejo mine in the southern province of Santa Cruz, Patagonia, confirmed a March 23 report by the Argentine news agency Telam.
Criticisms of Pan American Silver mining projects by the Catholic Church in Patagonia are very well known. The anti-mining stance was first prompted by Fernando Maletti, bishop of Bariloche Diocese, in 2005. Then Virginio Bressanelli, bishop of Chubut, declared himself against large open pit mining in 2009.
En even Jorge Bergoglio, then archbishop of Buenos Aires, signed a document in 2006 [Una tierra para todos (A land for all) Spanish version – http://www.endepa.org.ar/documentos/doccea.zip] that described Pan American Silver operations in Patagonia as “affecting the survival of indigenous communities”. Bergoglio helped to form the Equipo Nacional de Pastoral Aborigen (Endepa), which is fighting for aboriginal peoples to obtain title on their lands and have formed opposition groups to fight potential damaging mining projects.
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