Hilton Heredia reports for El Deber:
THE SERNAP WARNS HARDLINE
Deforestation of 7 km in the Kaa Iya Park opens controversy
They vetoed the cement project, worth $160 million of the mining group. Cattle growers see threats to the country’s largest reserve. The ABT is investigating. The mining company defends itself.
Contravention to environmental legislation. The Government, through the National Service for Protected Areas (Sernap), revealed that the community mining company Kaa Iya S.A. (Emcki S.A.) opened a track of 7 km long by 3 meters wide in the largest nature reserve of Bolivia (3.5 million hectares), Kaa Iya integrated management Natural Area, located in the area of the Gran Chaco, specifically 117 kilometers of Roboré. [Kaa-Iya is the size of Costa Rica, holds the Chaco ecoregion from where peanuts originally came for the world to consume]
A report that El Deber had access to, was made official by the Director of the Kaa Iya Park, Rosa Leny Cuéllar, who points out that this company [the mining company] did not close the gaps or open wells, who also failed to comply with all the mitigation measures proposed by the Sernap. The institution opened an administrative process for infringement to the protected area.
A team of journalists visited the Park and the affected area, along with Sernap’s Ranger Alcides Ramos. The area showed deforestation. However, the number of collapsed trees and the actual size of the effect is unknown.
Fallen trees on both sides of the divide, constitute the proof of the clearing, says the Ranger while it shows one of the species that was thrown down. [see picture above]
Getting to the place is difficult, but not impossible. A journey of 12 hours is the best example of the time that it takes to get to the Park and to the camp of the mining concession that makes studies of exploration of limestone.
While cattle growers see with good eyes the investment of the mining company, especially by the announcement of $160 million dollars to install a cement factory, they dislike the idea that workers and executive staff of the company take their areas and move around their land arbitrarily, in addition to begin clearing the area and affect the environment.
“If they want to fit a factory is fine, but they should do it outside of the reserve.” They enter my property, whenever they want and they are taking out the stone. We nor the Director of the Park have authorized the entry of this company, this is an abuse; In addition, this land is private, it is not public”, said Luis Fitsy Furner, squire.
For Flor Delicia Cardoso, owner of the hacienda La Represa, the work where the mining takes place is an attack on the environment that has to be punished.
The mining company rejects the report
The Kaa Iya Community Mining Company S.A ensures that it has the exploration licence that authorizes it to open tracks in the Kaa Iya Park. He argues that these works are provided for in the plan and that they have permission from the Director Cuellar.
The environmental study that supports the environmental license includes opening paths of access to truck with the machinery to the area of the project, preparation area of diamond drilling and accesses among each other. In addition, the opening of gaps for the Geophysical study carried out on foot, is contemplated.
The general manager of the company, Carlos Núñez, said that the cement plant to be installed will not be in the Park, but on the outskirts. However, the raw material is on the inside.
The authority of forests and land (ABT) sent today a team to check the deforestation in the area
“We are concerned about the attitude of the Lady Rosa Leny. We are fulfilling a dream of being an entrepreneur people. We are excited about this project.” Ricardo Romero – Alto Isoso 2nd High Captain.
“Obviously there has been a process of deforestation, but which is permitted in the study of environmental license. Everything is according to law. Carlos Nuñez – General Manager. Company KAA IYA
Community mining company has not filed reports of monitoring.
Without social support
According to PN IMNA Kaa Iya, the company does not have the social support in its entirety. Some ranches did not allow entry to their premises.
The environmental impact study supports the opening of a 15 km long and 1.5 m wide gap; however, he noted that there is a gap of 7 km long by 3 m wide.
This shows how confusing and distorted is the autonomy of the indigenous groups, regarding what to do inside their territories. I believe that Bolivia needs to enforce the fact that no projects should be conducted inside our National Parks and Reserves. As for the indigenous territories, the need to establish a referendum or some way to allow all those people inside indigenous territories to decide whether or not to engage in projects like this.
It is easier to say stay out or I’ll whatever I please. It is like people who illegally went to live close to a dump site and then complain about that pollution, like what happens in Normandia, Santa Cruz.
It also puzzles me to acknowledge cattle growers in such a dry and hot climate! Why did they end up settled there?
With regard to the Izocenos, I met those people, along with their top leaders and they are entrepreneurial and have self-pride and I only say if they want this enterprise on, they should do it in their territory not inside OUR National Park.