GUATEMALAPublished by MAC on 2007-04-16
San Pedro Necta Rejects Mining and Opts for Sustainable Projects with Less Environmental Risks
By Mike Castillo, Guatemala
16th April 2007
Marta Julia Gabriel Morales, another of the organizers, said that they know of two firms that have been granted authorizations without any consultation in the communities, one in the township of Chichimes and the other in El Boquerón. "This was what caused us to organize and express our disapproval. The indigenous people are the owners of our riches and we are not going to permit them to carry them off to another country," they manifested.Another of the fears that the population has is the risk entailed in the use of cyanide, which is a reactive chemical used to dissolve the gold with water. One type of catastrophe occurred in Honduras in 2002, when the mining firm Minerales de Occidente spilled 300 gallons of cyanide solution into the Lara river. In the first day after the spill alone some 18,000 fish were poisoned, along some 4.5 kilometers. Despite the claims of mining firms that they are sustainable and the favors awarded to their employees, the communities have rejected mining as a motor of development, and prefer to place their bets in ecotourism and other activities which will not cause ecological disasters. Six municipalities in Huehuetenango carried out popular consultations in 2006 and opposed mining. These were: Colotenango, Santiago Chimaltenango, San Juan Atitán, Concepción Huista, Todos Santos Cuchumatán y Santa Eulalia. They are demanding the implementation of legal reforms in mining legislation which were passed during the Alvaro Alzú administration.