One of the most controversial mining projects in Argentina, already affected by the economic crisis last year, has been halted by a court order after protests and clashes in the town of Andalgalá, Catamarca province. The judge’s decision to order an immediate suspension needs to be understood as a political one, rather than a strictly judicial one. Its obvious aim is to “calm down” the social indignation, and buy time. The judge’s move has already been rejected by local organizations, who are demanding a “ban on open pit mining in Andalgalá department”. The violent events have gained space in national media, and are very significant because Catamarca is the first province in which neoliberal mining frame was applied in Argentina (with the opening of the Bajo La Alumbrera copper-gold mine in 1997). Local organizations have been demanding a referendum, or consulta, over the project for the last four years, a process that could have prevent violent incidents. Yamana Gold, the Canadian company involved in Agua Rica, is also the owner of another “susended” project in Argentina: the Esquel gold deposit (after its takeover of Meridian Gold in 2007).
Though Canadian, Yamana has London connections. London-based JPMorgan Overseas Investment Trust plc held £2.1 million of shares in Yamana Gold as of 30 June 2008. New City Investment Managers Ltd/NCIM (UK) is investment manager of Golden Prospect Precious Metals Ltd. By the end of January 2009, Golden Prospect had around US$8 million under investment, including 5.8% of its gross assets in Yamana Gold. Canaccord Capital Corp, based in Canada and listed on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and London’s Alternative Investment Market, is a leading independent, “full service” investment dealer for private client services and capital markets, offering brokerage and investment banking services. Yamana Gold has been among its recent clients.  (See researcher Roger Moody’s From Money to Metals at