2 October 2013 – Pulp mill dispute has flared up once again

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A decade-long dispute over the construction of a pulp mill in Fray Bentos on the Uruguay River, which marks the border between Uruguay and Argentina, has flared up once again. The Uruguayan government has granted authorisation to the company operating the mill, UPM, to increase its annual pulp production. Argentina considers the pulp mill a hazard to the environment and has announced that it will appeal to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Earlier negotiations between Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Uruguayan President José Mujica regarding an increase in the mill’s production failed to yield a mutual agreement.

Uruguay maintains that the pulp mill complies with environmental standards, a claim that it backs up with measurements that determined only slight contamination of the Uruguay River, which cannot be directly connected to the mill’s operation.