MAC: Mines and Communities

Guatemala: Local Population Blocks Entrance to Gold & Silver Mine

Published by MAC on 2012-04-18
Source: Prensa Libre

According to El Periódico newspaper, Selvin Morales, former National Director of Mines until late 2010, is now and executive of Exmingua.


Local Population Continues Blocking Entrance to Gold & Silver Mine

Prensa Libre (Translated by Rights Action)

10 April 2012

Starting on March 2, 2012, a group of neighbors have blocked access to the entrance of the Progreso 4 mine; mining activities remain suspended. The protesters say they will remain there indefinitely and have begun to build shelters against the rains. The local population is waiting for a consultation to be carried out, before opening the road to the mine that is in its exploration phase. They are expecting the visit, next Thursday, of officials from the Ministry of Mines, Energy and the Environment who are coming to supervise work at the mine site. Community members hope the officials will receive them.

Community Members Call for Closure of Gold & Silver Mine

Prensa Libre (Translated for Rights Action by Rosalind Gill)

9 March 2012

For the past week, a group of people from San Pedro Ayampuc and San José del Golfo have been staging a protest at the entrance to the El Tambor mine, which is located within the two municipalities. They are demanding stoppage of gold and silver exploitation at the site. According to Lilian Montenegro, of El Carrizal, where the mine is located, attempts to suspend the precious metals exploration and exploitation licenses through the legal system have not proven to be viable.

"We decided to stage a protest here because we want them to remove all the trucks and hold a popular consultation to decide what should be done," he explained.

People from the community bring money and cooking materials to provide three meals a day to the group protesting at the entrance to the mine. María Véliz, a local resident, says that there are three groups providing support, and that every night there are women and children who help out.

Strong Opposition to the Mine

Esperanza Díaz, a local resident said: "I am concerned about the health harms to our children that can be caused by the mine. We live downhill from the mine and we are afraid that our homes will be buried as a result of an accident at the site." "We are going to keep up our protest as long as we can. This is a peaceful, non-violent protest," she said.

Johana Morales, a mother, said: "In the future, the mine could contaminate our water supply, which could effect the health of our children, because of the chemicals they use to extract the metals. This is why we are demanding that the project cease operations in our communities."

Setting a Deadline

Last Friday, a group of community members blocked the road to the mine to stop trucks from entering the mine. They are continuing their blocade. The protesters, members of the Frente Norte del Área Metropolitana, state that they have sent petitions to the Ministry of Mines and the office of the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights but have received no response to their demands.

One of the protest leaders, who wishes to remain anonymous because he has been the target of reprisals, says that they are giving representatives of the mine, owned by Exploraciones Mineras de Guatemala, S.A. (Exmingua) [owned by Radius Gold Inc.], until tomorrow to remove all their machinery. Prensa Libre tried to reach Exmingua [Radius Gold] authorities; but they left a telephone message saying that the representative is out of the country.

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