Goldcorp and On-going Environmental and Health Suffering in Guatemala

Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Posted by Rights Action Team | comments

Since 2004, the open-pit, cyanide leaching mining operation of Goldcorp Inc. in Guatemala (via its subsidiary Montana Exploradora de Guatemala) has caused widespread environmental and health harms, and human rights violations and repression, to Mayan Mam people living in communities in San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Sipicapa.

Though these harms and violations have been widely documented and denounced since 2004, and are the subject of an award winning documentary film, Gold Fever (http://www.goldfevermovie.com/), there has been no political or legal accountability for Goldcorp, neither in Guatemala, nor in Canada.

FREDEMI (San Miguel Ixtahuacan Defense Front) has produced yet another short film and a Communique documenting and denouncing devastating health harms that local community leaders believe are caused by toxins released into the air and water systems, thus contaminating the local population.

< >View 15 minute film (en espanol): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XZ0_scYyfo

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Communique, October 27, 2013

FRENTE DE DEFENSA MIGUELENSE (The Defense Front of San Miguel)
San Miguel Ixtahuacan, San Marcos Guatemala

After many years of struggling against the violations of our fundamental rights caused by the presence of the Marlin Mine, property of Montana Exploradora de Guatemala which is owned by the Canadian company Goldcorp, we now present further evidence of the damages caused by this mine in the local communities, while also noting the irresponsible actions of the local and national governments.

The municipalities of San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Sipicapa benefitted by the Precautionary Measures ordered by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) - however the Guatemalan State continues without enforcing or complying with them. According to these Precautionary Measures, the State is ordered to provide clean drinking water, free of any contamination, to the members of these communities for their personal use and farming.

The municipal mayors [San Miguel Ixtahuacan, Sipakapa] are forcing families to work in the construction of these water projects, despite the fact that these are being built as the result of a formal complaint, and that the Guatemalan State has the obligation to provide this vital liquid to the families.  Similarly, these mayors are requiring families to pay to be included in these water projects. For this reason, we denounce the government’s non-compliance with the Precautionary Measures.

At the same time, a recent visit to families living close to [Goldcorp’s] Marlin Mine has allowed us to note that over the last three years, there have been several cases of children and young people who have developed the weakening of their lower extremities (legs), leading to paralysis. Once they were unable to walk, efforts have been made to find them treatment, but without success. According to the parents of these children, they expressed feeling tired and weakness in the limbs, and it difficult to understand what the illness is.

We have tried to help these families, bringing them to the Center of Permanent Medical Attention (CAP) in San Miguel Ixtahuacán, but the doctor said that he was unable to treat them and that they require specialized attention. This is documented by medical certificates.

These families live in the Siete Platos village, municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacán, and a hydro-geological study in 2011 gave the following results:
According to COAGUANOR 29001, regulation on the maximum legal limit of different substances, water from the springs Peñasol (GW10), Fuente Propia (GW11), Paisa 1 (GW12) and Paraje Tuiyaxé (GW13) is apt for human consumption.

However, water from the springs Txeshiwe (GW3), Agua de Pueblo (1CDC) and Ideas (2CDC) is not apt for human consumption, because the levels of manganese (2.4, 1.2 and 0.9 mg/l, respectively) exceed the maximum permitted limit according to these regulations (0.5 mg/l).  The Txeshiwe spring brings water to the Siete Platos Hamlet, and they continue to consume it, thus increasing the health problems of the families in these communities.

For these reasons, we publically denounce the Marlin Mine and authorities in charge of these issues for this situation that threatens the lives of the people in this area. At the same time, we appeal to national and international human rights organizations for their solidarity with the struggles of these populations. They are examples for other peoples of the world who are also threatened by this type of unjust model of mineral extraction that is leading to the suffering of many sisters and brothers throughout the country.

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Gold Fever: Arrange a screening of award winning documentary film.  Trailer and more info: http://www.goldfevermovie.com/
Write to Goldcorp: With copies to your elected politicians and your own pension funds (most likely invested in Goldcorp), demand that Goldcorp ensure at potable water is provide, free of charge, to all communities in and around the Marlin Mine.

GOLDCORP Inc.

666 Burrard Street, Suite 3400, Vancouver, BC, V6C 2X8
(604) 696-3000604-696-3076
3201 – 130 Adelaide Street West, Toronto, ON, M5H 3P5
(416) 865-0326

Chuck Jeannes, President & CEO, Chuck.Jeannes@goldcorp.com
Kim Keras, executive assistant, Kim.Keras@goldcorp.com
Tim Miller, VP Operations in Central America, Tim.Miller@montana.com.gt
Brent Bergeron, Corp Social Responsibility, brent.bergeron@goldcorp.com
Dina Aloi, VP Corporate Social Responsibility, Dina.Aloi@goldcorp.com
Ben Lee, benjamin.lee@goldcorp.com, Legal Counsel
Jeff Wilhoit, Investor Relations, Jeff.Wilhoit@goldcorp.com
Christine Marks, media@goldcorp.com
Board of Directors, Directors@Goldcorp.com
Code of Conduct, ethics.help@goldcorp.com
Human resources, hr@goldcorp.com

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