Given the recent announcement by Goldcorp Inc. on the indefinite suspension of the Cerro Blanco mining project, the most advanced project in the border of El Salvador and Guatemala, the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining states to the public opinion
Last week, a Canadian mining company Goldcorp Inc., citing an unfavourable financial context for metal mining investment globally, announced the suspension of three mega projects, among them the emblematic Cerro Blanco project located in Guatemala, only 18 kilometres from the city of Metapan, in the western department of Santa Ana.
Unlike the financial issues cited by Goldcorp, we have denounced before that the technical information presented to the Guatemalan government to apply for exploration and exploitation permits was inaccurate and as such the project was unviable. The mine is located at Cerro Blanco geothermal reservoirs with temperatures above 80 degrees Celsius and to date this has been the main technical hurdle that the company has not been able to overcome and has resulted in higher costs than projected.
The costs, however, are not merely economic. Both the Guatemalan government and the mining company have faced in recent years a high degree of social and political resistance from communities in Guatemala and El Salvador that has forced the presidents of both governments to make public statements on the issue. The contamination resulting from the mine would violate the constitution of each of the countries and also international agreements such as the Trifinio Plan Treaty, signed by El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras; the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the American Convention Human Rights, and the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat.
We emphasize that the suspension of the Cerro Blanco mine is not just a result of cold financial calculation that ensures the company's good business practices. High levels of community resistance in defence of cultural, economic and social rights have been present in mining projects the company is now closing including the Cerro Blanco project and the Peñasquito mine in Mexico.
As National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining we state that the temporary suspension announced by the company is not enough, we must move towards the total closure of the mining project and avoid a political and environmental conflict between the two Central American countries.
We support Guatemalan and Salvadoran communities in demanding that the government of Guatemala revoke the Cerro Blanco mine.
We ask the Salvadoran government to strengthen its position and use its diplomatic channels to ask the Guatemalan government to close the mine permanently. And, since the Cerro Blanco mine is only one of 49 known mining projects with cross-border implications, this should also motivate both governments to promote an urgent regional dialogue for the integrated and sustainable management of shared basins and watersheds.
We demand the closure of the mine Cerro Blanco and the integrated and sustainable management of shared basins and watersheds in Central America!