Moroccan villagers step up actions against massive silver mine

Moroccan villagers step up actions against massive silver mine

Remote village in the High Atlas Mountains.

A group of Moroccan activists, who have been living on an occupation camp 5,000 feet high in the Atlas Mountains, to oppose the most productive silver mine in Africa, say they are ready to negotiate a settlement, but that no one is listening.

The ongoing occupation was brought back to the spotlight last week, after The New York Times published an in-depth feature on Imiter, home to the poorest people in the African country.

Since August 2011 they have been blocking some of the main wells supplying water for Imiter Metallurgic Company’s operation. They claim the mine, in operations since 1969, is drawing more than its fair share of water and polluting what it uses.

Problem is, Imiter Metallurgic is a sister group of Managem, which is indirectly controlled by a holding belonging to Morocco's royal family.

But one of their main demands is related to jobs, as they want at least that 75% of the positions to be allocated to their municipality. The company has called such demands unrealistic.

Internal sources say processing capacity dropped 40% in 2012 and 30% last year, after the villagers cut off one source of their water. Currently they are using another source in an effort to make up the loss, reports Ethical Consumer.

Image by jonl1973 on Flickr