Canadian Mining Company about to dump sewage water into river system

Canadian Mining Company about to dump sewage water into river system

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August 26, 2007

Reports have been coming in that Montana Exploradora, which is owned by Canada’s own Goldcorp, is about to begin spilling sewage water from the waste dam of the Marlin mine (see map) into the Quivichil stream and the Cuilco river, in Guatemala.

As I understand it, the water has been treated so the level of toxins in the water is “below levels of concern,” however, as explored in this assessment report (pdf), numerous assumptions and opinion-based claims are being made with regard to how this dump is going to impact the environment. For instance, ‘levels of concern’ according to whom? Magical creatures living in the forests of Guatemala that only GoldCorp’s CEO can communicate with?

Humor aside, thousands of people depend on the Quivichil stream and the Cuilco river for drinking water and for the irrigation of their crops, and so there is absolutely no room for baseless hope and idle promises that everything will be alright.

From Real World Radio – Several Guatemalan social organizations sent a letter to government representatives and to international agencies on Monday to express their concern over the quality of water in the rivers surrounding Marlin mining project of the company Montana Exploradora de Guatemala, in San Miguel Ixtahuacán, municipality.

Thousands of people depend on these water resources as a source of drinking water and for the irrigation of their crops.

The National Indigenous and Peasant Coordinator, the Peasant Workers’ Movement and the Association for the Promotion and Development of the Community (CEIBA-Friends of the Earth Guatemala) are some of the organizations that signed the letter, addressed to the Minister of Energy and Mining, Carmen Urizar, to the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Juan Mario Dary, and international agencies like the World Health Organization.

“Based on reports of different sources we have learned that Montana Exploradora, with the ministries’ awareness, is about to begin spilling sewage water from the waste dam of Marlin mine into the Quivichil stream and the Cuilco river”.

“We are concerned because the waters that are to be spilled may have high levels of metals and non-metals”. The organizations explain that the Canadian mining corporation Goldcorp, owner of Montana Exploradora, has bad records as to the illegal spill of waste and the pollution of water.

The organizations finally ask the ministries to make sure that Montana Exploradora will comply with the national environmental laws and that it will provide information on the spill of sewage water in Marlin mine, and about the control mechanisms to avoid the contamination of Quivichil stream and Cuilco river. (source)

Further Reading
For contacts and further information, see this mail-out by Rights Action
And, here’s some background on global response

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