Council of Canadians and Rights Action demand shutdown of Goldcorp's Marlin Mine

Media Release
September 8, 2011

The Council of Canadians joins Rights Action and the community of San Miguel Ixtahuacan in calling for the immediate closure of Goldcorp’s controversial Marlin Mine in Guatemala.

“Companies like Goldcorp are tarring Canada’s reputation internationally,” says Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow. “The federal government has promoted and supported the expansion of Canadian mining and investor interests around the world, without regard for human rights or environmental impacts. Enough is enough.”

On September 6-7, Barlow traveled with Grahame Russell, of Rights Action, and a group 14 others – including Mayan women from across Guatemala – to visit with Mayan Mam communities and families of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, in western Guatemala, who have been harmed by Goldcorp Inc’s mountain-top removal, open-pit, cyanide leaching gold mine.

The Council of Canadians and Rights Action are demanding:

  • that Goldcorp be compelled to shut down the Marlin Mine and to pay reparations to the local people in Guatemala
  • an expert, public and independent commission to be established to carry out a full and impartial investigation into the environmental and health harms, and other human rights violations related to Goldcorp’s Marlin Mine, that will then be publicly reported on.  The commission, based on its findings, should set out a complete reparations, compensation and environment cleansing and restoration plan, and the Canadian government should pay for the full, transparent implementation of this plan.
  • that the federal government ensure Canadian mining operations respect the right to free, prior, informed consent (as recognized in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which Canada has signed)
  • that the right to water and the precautionary principle take precedence over the profits of mining companies in Canada and abroad.
  • that the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (with its $256 million worth of shares in Goldcorp) call for a closure of the mine.

“Impunity in Guatemala – from the local to the national levels – is a well-documented, devastating phenomenon that dates back generations, and continues today,” says Grahame Russell of Rights Action. “However, the impunity with which Goldcorp operates is not only a Guatemalan phenomenon.  It is profoundly a Canadian phenomenon. The federal government must step in to prevent similar abuses of other Canadian mining companies.”

For the Council of Canadians and Rights Action, based on considerable investigation and documentation and based on the groups’ own investigations, there can be no question that Goldcorp has caused and is causing widespread harms and violations. These harms and violations have been caused directly and indirectly by Goldcorp Inc.’s cyanide leaching, mountain-top removal, open pit gold mine.

The Council of Canadians and Rights Action delegation was received by ADISMI (Association for the Integral Development of San Miguel Ixtahuacan), an organization of mining-harmed communities and people, that, since 2004, has been at the forefront of denouncing and resisting the wide range of health and environmental harms and other human rights violations caused directly and indirectly by Goldcorp’s mine.

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