Nickel mining in Mayan lands; Phoenix Project

Synopsis

A Canadian mining company developed a huge project for the extraction of nickel in Mayan lands. The operation was left in the beginnings of the eighties, due to the lost in the quotation of the international price of the mineral.

From the exploration until the operation of the mine, serious violations of human rights and of the rights of the indigenous peoples took place. Nevertheless in December 2004 the mining licenses were renewed and at the same time a simulated sale of the company was realized. The new mining process will use sulfuric acid and will discard the sewage into the lake of Izabal, which is part of a protected ecological area.
As Guatemala signed the ILO Convention 169 (International Labour Organization), a previous consultation of the indigenous population in the affected zone has to be realized, in order to know if they accept the mining operation. This did not happen, but the inhabitants are mainly against the fact, that the extraction of the mine will start again. The documentary describes, with its different witnesses, who also articulate themselves in their indigenous language (Q'eqch'i), the problems that this foreign investment already brought and will bring to the Q'quechi area: Violations of human rights violations and the rights of the indigenous peoples, damages of the health of the inhabitants, an environmental disaster and a negative socio-economic impact on the whole area.


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