Canadian Mining Woes in Guatemala

Nearly 2000 Mayan Indians occupied land in a mining concesion owned by a Canadian mining company.


TheQ’eqchi Indians are demanding that the land be returned to them for subsistence farming. The country’s 1996 Peace Accords mandates that indigenous communities be allowed to reclaim land that they had historically lived in, as well be given the rights to determine how the land is used.


"They got fed up and decided to take action. There were around 350 families-around 2,000 people," said Father Daniel Vogt, who represents local Mayan development group Aepdi. "They are still there, building houses. The company has told me they are not willing to negotiate until they move."

More than 20 Indigenous communities are located within Canada’s Skye Resources mining concession. These communities claim that the company and government did not consult them prior to awarding the company its exploratrion liscence. This violates International Labor Organization Convention 177—of which Guatemala is a signatory.

"We would like to resolve this or else there could be conflicts once we start operations," mine official Omar Dieguez told Reuters.