Mining company Barrick Gold has reached a preliminary agreement with local indigenous peoples in Chile that may help clear the way to reactivating the Pascua-Lama mine in the Andes. The local Diaguita communities had long opposed the mine, saying it threatened their water supply and polluted nearby glaciers, and in May 2013 the Chilean environment minister blocked work on the project on the grounds that Barrick had violated its work permit. Now, 15 of the 18 indigenous communities have come to a memorandum of understanding with Barrick that the communities’ lawyer sees as a “new phase in the way that large-scale mining is done in Chile.” Under the agreement, Barrick will provide details about the mining project to local communities to allow for corroboration by experts, after which the company will enter a dialogue phase that could last two or more years. The Diaguita see the agreement as a victory and hope the deal will set a precedent for other companies to follow. For the full story, see and