Giant Mining Company Excluded From Sponsoring Al Gore Event in Chile on Global Warming

Giant Mining Company Excluded From Sponsoring Al Gore Event in Chile on Global Warming

Barrick Gold Corp., the Canadian mining company, has abandoned its plan to sponsor a seminar here on global warming in May that will have former Vice President Al Gore and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet as the main speakers.

It wasn’t clear how the decision was made.

A representative for Gore said his office requested that Barrick Gold not be included among the sponsors of the event “Global Warming and Climate Change, the Time to Act has Come.”

A Barrick Gold spokesman, Vince Borg, told The Associated Presss by telephone from Toronto that the company had decided to step aside. A controversy had broke here over the company’s participation.

The mining company had already been in the middle of a controversy here in early 2006 over a multi-million gold mining project in northern Chile, Pascua Lama, which originally included the removal of a glacier. Local environmental authorities eventually approved the project, after the plan to remove the glacier was dropped.

A Gore representative, Kalee Krieder, said Barrick Gold had been included among the co-sponsors without Gore’s knowledge.

“I can confirm that Barrick Gold is no longer a co-sponsor of the event,” Kreider told the Asssociated Press in an e-mail. “It is policy for our office to clear all sponsors of Mr. Gore’s events. Unfortunately, our office was never notified by the sponsor that they wished to add Barrick Gold as a co-sponsor and therefore it did not go through the normal vetting process.”

“Late last week, when our office discovered that Barrick Gold was added, without our knowledge, as a co-sponsor, we asked that they be removed. Our understanding was that this request was executed on Wednesday,” she added.

Borg said Barrick Gold decided to drop the sponsorship “to avoid it becoming a distraction for very useful discussions on important matters” during the May 11 seminar.

The controversy, he said, could “defeat the purpose” of properly conducting the seminar’s issues.

Borg said that the $50,000 the company had earmarked as contribution for the financing of the seminar will instead be granted to organizations or universities for research on environment protection.

Local environmental organizations had objected to the participation of Barrick Gold.

Socialist Sen. Alejandro Navarro said that Barrick Gold’s financing “would contaminate” the visit of Gore, recent winner of an Oscar for his documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Information from: AP via Yahoo News

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