In a landmark case, an Argentinian prosecutor brings charges of environmental contamination against Xstrata vice-president Julian Rooney for his management of the Alumbrera mine.1 In addition to being the first instance of a Latin American court charging a mining company for environmental damages, the decision has additional significance because of the importance of the mine in question. Run by Xstrata since 2003, Minera Alumbrera was Argentina’s largest mine, and at one point accounted for 40% of Argentina’s mining exports.2 The charges against Xstrata and Rooney revolve around allegations that the mining operations have poisoned water supplies, and have come about due to significant and sustained local resistance and legal action.3


1 David Modersbach, ‘First Ever in Latin America: Mining Corporation Charged with “Crimes Against the Environment”’ in Catamarca, Argentina,’ No Al Mina, June 18, 2008,

2 Mines Against Communities, “Xstrata’s “best practice” in Argentina,“ October 3, 2004,

3 “Bajo la Alumbrera mine, Catamarca, Argentina,” EJatlas, August 18, 2019,