Church Representatives Vow to Defend Latin American Areas With Mines

By Lise Alves Catholic News Service. Re-posted with permission from the ECO Catholic page on The National Catholic Reporter. 

SAO PAULO: Leaders from 14 Latin American countries gathered in Brazil in early December to discuss ways to reduce the impact of mining activities in their communities, especially the contamination of rivers and lakes.

“There is no large-scale industrial mining without water,” said Bishop Guilherme Werlang of Ipameri, president of the Brazilian bishops’ social justice and charity commission. But the bishops say materials used in mineral extraction contaminate groundwater, rivers and lakes in mining regions.

“It has been proven that these toxic materials will remain in the soil and in the water during many centuries,” Werlang said.

A three-day conference dubbed “Church and Mining: An Option in Defense of Communities and Territories,” was the first of its kind in the region. The conference had the support of the Brazilian bishops’ conference and the participation of the Latin American Council of Churches as about 90 participants tried to define strategies and alliances to reduce the impact of mining…

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