Cerro Blanco

Uncertainty in communities of Asuncion Mita due to the imminent reopening of the Cerro Blanco mine in Guatemala

* Edgardo Ayala - Contrapunto

Despite of a two year mining prohibition, the ghost of mining does not fade away for communities in El Salvador that are exposed to crossborder contamination that may cause irreversible environmental damage to their limited water resources. 

ASUNCIÓN MITA, Guatemala. Although everything indicates that Canadian Bluestone Resources consortium has oiled up its powerful technical and financial machinery to restart operations at the Cerro Blanco mine, there is still a veil of secrecy and silence in the surrounding communities located near the megaproject.

Sin título5Worker guards the entrance of the Cerro Blanco mine in Asuncion Mita, Guatemala. Photo: Karla Rodas"We have heard rumors, there are three people linked to the mine who come to the community, but they  say no, they are lies (the rumors about restarting of operations), they say the mine is going to close, and it is currently under maintenance" , explained Viviana Palma, a young teacher, resident of the village of Trapiche Vargas, jurisdiction of Asunción Mita, in the eastern department of Jutiapa, Guatemala.

The Cerro Blanco mine is located in the vicinity of Asunción Mita, a city of about 50,000 inhabitants, located 160 km southeast of the Guatemalan capital, and about 10 kilometers from the border with El Salvador.

This closeness with El Salvador led environmental groups from both countries to oppose the project since it was established in the area, in 2005, due to the possible negative impacts that would occur not only in Guatemalan towns, but also in El Salvador, as contamination reaches the Guija lake, in the department of Metapan, El Salvador.

And from there the remnants of the process, heavy metals and other pollutants, would reach the Lempa River, which sig sags throughout the country and is the main source of water for 60% of the population of Greater San Salvador.

The veil of silence.

"The rumors come through information from the local parish.  A Canadian sister warned us that it has become known that the stubborn mining company wants to continue drilling and everything they do" added Palma, 27 years old.

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Cross border mining will be the next phase of the anti-mining struggle in El Salvador

Gloria Silvia Orellana - Diario CoLatino

"My mother was the daughter of miners and when I told her everything that happened here (in El Salvador) she told me that when her father finished working (in a mining project) the area was left deserted and the damaged, and the impacts are similar in any country of the world" said Teresa Garcia, a religious of the Assumption, who has worked for 31 years with the community in San José Las Flores, Chalatenango.

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Sanches Ceren will prevent mining in the Trifinio región.

Due the risk of contaminating key bodies of water shared by the three countries

Translated from:  http://elecciones2014.elsalvador.com/articulo/sanchez-ceren-evitara-mineria-trifinio-976

Vice President Salvador Sanchez Ceren was emphatic in his statement that he will advocate for the suspension of all mining activity in the Trifinio Reserve area, alluding to the Cerro Blanco mining project located in Asuncion Mita, Guatemala , 18 kilometers away from Metapan.

A technical report carried out by Salvadoran authorities, after a visit to the mine, stated that the project has many shortcomings that could cause negative impacts on nearby bodies of water where toxic discharge will occur, contamination of the Ostúa river, could travel to the Güija lake and then to the Lempa river.

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Governments of Guatemala and El Salvador forced to respond to community concerns regarding the Cerro Blanco mining project

San Salvador, Feb. 26th, 2013

Over two hundred Members of the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining in El Salvador, La Mesa, held a rally this morning in front of the Guatemalan Embassy in San Salvador to deliver a letter addressed to Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina to express concerns related to the Cerro Blanco mining project in the border with El Salvador.

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February 26, 2013

Communities and organizations convened under the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining in El Salvador mobilized to the Embassy of Guatemala in El Salvador today to express our opposition to the Cerro Blanco mine. The Cerro Blanco operation, a project of Entremares SA, a subsidiary of Goldcorp Inc, will have a negative impact on the quality of life of the Salvadoran population.

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Government of El Salvador asked once again to take leadership in banning metallic mining

San Salvador, February 4th, 2012

The NationalRoundtable Against Metallic Mining in El Salvador(La Mesa) reiterated in a press conference this morning its petition for the Salvadoran Government to introduce legislation to place a definite ban to metallic mining in the country. 

The call was made as a response to a recent report released by the El Salvador’s Human Rights Ombudsman that highlights the potential violations to the human rights of Salvadorans by cross border contamination stemming from the Cerro Blanco project located in Guatemala, and recent legislation in the neighboring country of Honduras that opens the gate to a flood of mining projects located in the border with El Salvador.    

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