Tag Archives: silver mining

Indigenous Nahuas reject mine in Colima, Mexico

By Mónica Montalvo, Translated by Scott Campbell January 7, 2014. Source: El Enemigo Común

For our indigenous people, the land is not merely an object of possession and production.

The integral relationship between our people’s spiritual life and our lands has many profound implications. Furthermore, our land and our water are not commodities to be appropriated, but a common good which we and our children should freely enjoy.

-Indigenous Council for the Defense of the Territory of Zacualpan


In recent weeks, the town of Zacualpan, in the municipality of Comala, has joined the growing number of farming and indigenous communities facing conflicts over mining. A few months ago, this indigenous Nahua community began hearing about a plan to build a mine – backed by Rigoberto Verduzco Rodríguez – from which gold, silver, copper and manganese would be extracted, without an environmental impact study or any approval process or permits in the offices of the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) in Colima.

The planned mine is one kilometer from a water spring that supplies the metropolitan area of Colima-Villa de Álvarez, which would mean contaminating the water source in an area known as Cerro Gordo, which is important from a biological and geological point of view and where there is a large number of species at risk of extinction. This would translate into putting at risk the water supply for 260,000 people in the state.

The case of Zacualpan is one of the first conflicts emerging in the state, but it will not be the last, as in Colima alone there are 360 mining concessions covering virtually the entire state with the exception of the volcanos. There is already an example that shows all the negative implications of these extractive projects: the Peña Colorado mine. This mine, operated by an Italian-Argentinian-Indian firm, has been in operation for the past 44 years on the border between Colima and Jalisco and has caused severe environmental damage, territorial displacement and human rights violations in the Nahua communities. The Peña Colorado mine has also meant threats, assassinations and disappearances, as in the case of the indigenous Nahua Celedonio Monroy Prudencio, member of the Ayotitlan Council of Elders.
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Filed under Actions / Protest, Corporate Globalization, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Mining, Victory!, Water

Grassroots groups wary of Haiti’s ‘attractive’ mining law

August 1, 2013. Source: Inter Press Service

Haitians concerned about the impacts of unchecked mining meet at a sweltering tin-roofed church near Grand Bois on Jul. 5, 2013. Photo: HGW/Lafontaine Orvild

Haitians concerned about the impacts of unchecked mining meet at a sweltering tin-roofed church near Grand Bois on Jul. 5, 2013. Photo: HGW/Lafontaine Orvild

As the government works on preparing “an attractive law that will entice investors”, Haitian popular organisations are mobilising and forming networks to resist mining in their country.

Already one-third of the north of Haiti is under research, exploration, or exploitation license to foreign companies.

Some 2,400 square kilometres have been parceled out to Haitian firms fronting for U.S. and Canadian concerns. Some estimate that Haiti’s mineral wealth – mostly gold, copper, and silver – could be worth as much as 20 billion dollars. The awarding of permits behind closed doors, with no independent or community oversight, has angered many in Haiti, who fear that the government is opening the country up to systematic pillage.

But the head of the government mining agency told Haiti Grassroots Watch (HGW) his concern is to assure that Haiti is made more “attractive” to potential investors.

“We need an attractive mining law,” said Ludner Remarais, head of the Mining and Energy Agency. “A mining law that will entice investors.”
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Filed under Corporate Globalization, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Mining, World Bank

Take Action: Tell Guatemala to Halt Mining Projects

Please join the Guatemala Human Rights Commission and the Center for International Environmental Law in telling the Guatemalan authorities to halt the extraction license of Canadian company Tahoe Resources.

Local communities have expressed opposition to the project, and there are over 200 pending complaints lodged in the Ministry of Energy and Mines. Recent violence has also increased tension and fear in the area. Despite this, the company continues to push the government to grant the mining license.

You can sign the petition here.

Pro-Consulta Demonstration in San Rafael Las Flores“The mine doesn’t pass” Photo:mimundo.org

Just over a year ago CIEL asked for help to protect the wellbeing of communities in San Rafael Las Flores, Guatemala, by contacting the Guatemalan Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) to halt the licensing of a silver mining project owned by the Canadian company Tahoe Resources (40% owned by Goldcorp).

Today, we ask for your help again. Under its international human rights obligations, Guatemala must consult populations that could be affected by a mining project, and further requires the consent of affected indigenous peoples.

Not only were communities near the Tahoe project not consulted – including a community of indigenous Xinka peoples – but public referenda have shown that neighboring communities are opposed to the development of the mine. Seventeen local development councils and community mayors sent a letter to MEM last December requesting the refusal of the extraction license.

Many of those living close to the mine worry that its operations could pollute the water upon which their livelihoods depend. Currently, there are over 200 pending complaints against the project, each of which, according to Guatemalan law, must be resolved by MEM before granting a license.

IMG_5188The communities of San Rafael remain as committed as ever in their non-violent opposition to the mine, though they have become the target of increasing intimidation and criminalization.

Their organizing occurs in a context of escalating violence and insecurity. On January 11th, 2013, violence once again erupted in the area near the Tahoe mine site resulting in the death of three people, including two members of the company’s private security group. There is an ongoing investigation into these events to identify the responsible parties and motive.

As part of its response to the violence, Tahoe Resources publicly reiterated its confidence that the license will be granted, stating “[t]he Guatemalan President and the [MEM] have reassured us that the license is forthcoming.”

To show your support for the communities opposing the Tahoe mine, please sign the petition here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Mining, Political Repression, Pollution, Water