Canadian mining corporation and its criminal record in Guatemala

Radio Mundo Real

November 16, 2012

As part of the International Solidarity Mission organized by Friends of the Earth and the Transnational Institute in Guatemala and El Salvador, there follows an analysis of the Canadian corporation Goldcorp and its record of exploitation and divide of communities where it operates.

Goldcorp is the owner of the Marlin mine, which has been in San Miguel de Ixtahuacán municipality since 2005. In 2011 the mine produced over 380,000 ounces of gold with a profit of over $600 million.

The Guatemalan government authorized the exploitation of an area of 20 km2 for 25 years, of which it has so far exploited nearly 2 km2 with serious effects on the population of the region.

As a result of the installation of the company, the communities of San Miguel Ixtahuacán have suffered serious health damage, the pollution of water caused by sediments and the use of cyanide, the destruction of the territories and their homes as a result of the use of explosives to extract gold, the payment of low salaries to local workers and the need to migrate because of the danger they are exposed to.

The communities of the region have opposed the action of the mine for years. At first through community consultations, which were neither recognized by the government nor by the mine, and later by exposing the economic and ecological crimes before the local authorities, as well as national and international opinion tribunals by demanding the respect of ILO’s Convention 169.

However, the strong resistance and defense for life and nature, both for this and for future generations, has been criminalized and persecuted, with the complicity of the government of Guatemala, which signs laws in favour of transnational corporations and against the peoples’ rights.

The mining company “Montana Exploradora” (Goldcorp) has developed a series of programs of Corporate Social Responsibility that imply a minimum investment. They ignore the community process and have managed to divide the communities that used to reject them by even causing violence among the members of the community. The Guatemalan government has been complicit in these crimes by protecting the company and ignoring the communities’ demands.

The Canadian government is also responsible for human rights violations by allowing its corporations to act above the law and to seek to operate through Bilateral Investment Treaties or Free Trade Agreements.

Original article by Radio Mundo Real in English | Español

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