Technical Study Confirms Goldcorp Inc’s Marlin Mine Responsible for Structural Damage to Housing in San Marcos, Guatemala

Goldcorp Inc, the world’s second largest gold mining corporation has been operating a highly controversial gold and silver open pit mine called “Marlin” in the Guatemalan highlands. The recent release of a technical study on the appearance of ruptures in local residents’ homes implicates the company in harms for which it has been denying responsibility since 2005.

After two years of study, a technical team run through the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) composed of mining specialists and geologists, concluded that the structural damage to homes in the municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacán is being caused by the blasting of explosives by the mining company and the passage of the company’s heavy trucks.

“The possibility of the damages caused by mudslides, tremors, subsidence, superficial or underground water were ruled out, as well as swelling clay soils.  An inadequate construction of the houses is not the probable cause either.  Our engineering team eliminated all the possible causes except one,” states Rob Robinson, coordinator of the team of engineers.

Since 2005 indigenous Maya Mam residents have denounced the company’s operations for various social, economic, environmental, health, and physical harms they have experienced since the mine opened operations in 2005. Repeatedly, the company has refused to take responsibility for the damaged homes in the area, blaming inadequate construction and even loud church music for the large ruptures. At Goldcorp Inc’s annual general meeting in May, 2009, where two Guatemalan community representatives denounced the company’s human rights violations, President and CEO Charles Jeannes declared that Goldcorp was prepared to compensate families for ruptures in their homes. Affected community members hope they will stand by this statement.

Goldcorp Inc. owns over a dozen mining exploration and exploitation licenses in all of Guatemala. The company has come under pressure from international human rights organizations and a broad-based Guatemalan social movement for its failure to respect indigenous rights and the principle of free, prior and informed consent. In fact, over 30 municipalities throughout the country have voted against mining within their territory through locally-organized popular referenda. With the completion of this study, many hope that those already affected by Goldcorp’s projects will be one step closer to achieving justice for harms inflicted upon them.

We invite you to download the report in pdf on


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