International Labor Organization Requests the Suspension of the Marlin Mine in Guatemala- Cites Lack of Consultation and Proper Impact Assessments

Civil society groups have applauded the recent statements of the ILO requesting that the government of Guatemala suspend the mining operations of Goldcorp Inc/ Montana Exploradora (subsidiary) in San Marcos. The conclusion, based on a claim submitted by the Trade Union Confederation of Guatemala (UNSITRAGUA), emphasizes the government’s failure to consult the affected population prior to granting the license to then-Glamis Gold, and the inadequate assessment of environmental and agricultural harms, which the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman in Guatemala has since noted to the committee.

[The Committee] expresses its concern regarding the lack of progress in the case under examination and urges the Government to suspend the exploitation in question until the studies provided for in Article 7(3) of the Convention and the prior consultation provided for in Article 15(2) of the Convention can be carried out, and to provide detailed information in this regard. Furthermore, the Committee asks the Government to take the measures necessary to shed light on the incident in which a villager died in the course of a demonstration against the installation of a cylinder for the mine…

Following the request, communities and the Indigenous Mayoral Council in San Miguel Ixtahuacán, the area surrounding Goldcorp’s Marlin mine, filed a petition with the government to follow through on the request and suspend extraction in the area. http://pluriculturalidadjuridica.blogspot.com/

Goldcorp’s Marlin mine has been plagued with controversy since it began operations in 2005. Community opposition to the project and claims of grave human rights violations and environmental and health harms have lead to various legal actions against the mine. In 2009 communities in San Miguel Ixtahuacán joined the petition of neighboring municipality Sipakapa in the Inter American Commission on Human Rights against the Guatemalan government. In December of 2009 a coalition of community organizations filed a complaint against Goldcorp Inc. to the Canadian National Contact Point of the OECD. The report from the ILO also follows a ruling of Guatemala’s Supreme Court around a mining operation in San Juan Sacatepequez, declaring that the government’s obligations under the ILO to consult communities prior to granting development permits hold equal standing with constitutional law and must be carried out.

Goldcorp Inc. has yet to comment on the ILO’s recent recommendation, but has continuously claimed to have approval from communities surrounding their mining operations.

A copy of the report can be found at: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_norm/—relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_123424.pdf

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