Guatemala: Rural Farmers Lose Livestock Due to Water Contamination by Marlin Mine




San Miguel Ixtahuacán, San Marcos, Guatemala 18 November 2012

FREDEMI (Frente de Defensa Miguelense)

FREDEMI releases this report to inform international solidarity organizations, particularly the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and the government, that on the 19th of November of this year Mrs Marcela Mejía from the community of Siete Platos, situated in the lower part of the Marlin mine and protected by precautionary measures granted by the IACHR on 20 May 2010 that have so far not been implemented by the State of Guatemala, took her animals to drink from the River Cuilco that flows through the Community. On returning home, a cow suffered a bout of vomiting which eventually led to its death.

Mrs Mejía expresses her deep concern at the fact that since the Marlin mine began its activities there have been many instances of livestock deaths around the River area. Mrs Mejía has so far seen 3 deaths of livestock and 6 in total this year. Other neighbours living around the River Cuilco also express their sadness at the reality of the situation because, even though the Community Environmental Monitoring Association (AMAC) and the Managers of the mine are aware of these events, they still continue to deny that local water sources are being contaminated.

AMAC is financed by the Canadian Embassy and Montana Explorada de Guatemala S.A., the property of the Canadian company Goldcorp Inc., which also act as consultants along with the Engineering Faculty at the San Carlos University of Guatemala. AMAC insists there is no water contamination. Due to the serious and urgent nature of this issue, we denounce these occurrences while we are in the process of filing for criminal charges with the Public Prosecutor’s Office. These charges shall be presented at the end of next week when we will also give a press conference to make this issue public.

We will request that the Public Prosecutor investigates environmental and cultural contamination, as well as the consequences that the recent earthquake may have had on the liquid waste dam, underground mining tunnels, mine pits, waste heaps and other sites, new land subsidence, mine shafts and possible encroachment on the Constitutional Right of Property of the Mayan Mam and Sipakapense communities.