Human Rights Advocates Denounce Goldcorp’s New Plan to Improve Situation in Guatemala; Plan Lacks Real Action to Address Human Rights Abuses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Washington, D.C.—Human rights advocates denounced Goldcorp, Inc’s plan to improve the situation at the Marlin mine in Guatemala because it allows for ongoing human rights violations.

Yesterday, Goldcorp released a new plan for implementing the recommendations made in the Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) that the company commissioned in 2008. The study, conducted by Vancouver-based On Common Ground Consultants, found widespread human rights violations at the Marlin mine and called on Goldcorp to “prepare a detailed response and action plan with clear objectives and timelines to address the findings and recommendations of the assessment.”

“Goldcorp’s plan lacks real action,” said Kristen Genovese, senior attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law. “The company fails to address the most serious recommendations from the HRIA and, in so doing, continues its pattern of denying responsibility for the harm it has caused.”

The HRIA found deficiencies in the consultation and land acquisition processes, which constitute violations of indigenous rights. The violations were so severe that the HRIA recommended an immediate moratorium on all land acquisition, exploration, and expansion of the mine.  Goldcorp responded by committing to additional review.

In response to a recommendation to investigate the firings of mine employees and support collective bargaining and freedom of association, Goldcorp said they will continue to study the recommendation itself and review different structures for an employee-based workers’ association.

Goldcorp failed to address the issues of posting additional bond to cover full-closure and post-closure management costs and repairing all homes that have sustained structural damage from the mine’s blasting. Advocates say that the repairs would be of nominal cost for the second-largest mining company in the world.

“Goldcorp cannot continue to hide behind the Guatemalan government nor claim there is a need for more studies,” said Beth Geglia, a human rights advocate who has worked with Marlin mine affected communities since 2007. “The International Labor Organization has determined that the communities’ fundamental right to prior consultation was violated, and now their own HRIA does the same. Goldcorp must halt operations.”

Although Goldcorp urges “all stakeholders to participate in and contribute to” improving its business practices, it has not yet made available a Spanish translation of its implementation plan, much less a translation in Mam, the local language in the affected communities.

While Goldcorp states it will “work with the government, as appropriate, to assure that indigenous peoples are consulted with respect to our operations,” the company has proceeded with the development of their other two large projects in Guatemala, the Cerro Blanco and Escobal mines (40% ownership), without prior consultation with communities.

On June 24, 2010 the Guatemalan government announced it would suspend operations at the Marlin mine in compliance with precautionary measures issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States.

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