Guatemala suspends gold and silver mining operation

June 25, 2010

The Guatemalan government has suspended work on the Marlin gold and silver mine due to complaints over water contamination.

 

The Marlin mine is owned by GoldCorp, a Canadian company, and is located on a mountain range 48 kilometers west of the city of Huehuetenango in the northwest corner of the country.

 

The suspension came last week in response to a resolution issued in May by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) requesting that the Guatemalan government temporarily close the mine. The resolution came after 18 communities near the mine reported contamination of their water supplies.

 

Two weeks ago, the United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights for indigenous peoples also recommended that the Guatemalan government suspend operations at the mine.

 

Preliminary studies from Guatemala’s Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Energy and Mines did not find any contaminants in nearby water. The country’s Public Health Ministry also reported that no illnesses caused by contamination exist in communities in the area.

 

The IACHR said it will visit the mine in July to analyze the environmental and health impacts of the mine.

 

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