Gold mining in Guatemala open sky; Marlin Project

Synopsis

The Guatemalan Mining Law (1997) creates the necessary conditions to make the mining business very profitable for foreign companies: It establishes low royalties for the extraction of minerals from the country and gives tax exemptions for the import of machines, etc.

This documentary deals with the activities of a transnational mining company that started looking for gold in 1996 in part of the territory of San Marcos. Apart from the benefits established in the Mining Law, the company got approved a 45 million dollar loan of the World Banks International Finance Corporation.
Even before starting the exploitation, there have been health damages of the population, serious impacts on the eco-system (including a total lack of water in some communities) and serious violations of the indigenous peoples human rights, the Sipakapense people.
The same company is extracting gold in Honduras, with a branch company. There, the enormous environmental damages are more visible. The used mining process is the same one, as in Guatemala.
Because of the wide diffusion of this documentary, the issue of open pit-mining, using chemicals and its serious consequences has started in Guatemala and a new mining law (more benefits for the country) is being discussed. The civil society is also strongly debating the advantages of these industries for the development of the country.
In 2004, the documentary was planned to be presented in the frame of a forum on Extractive Industries, Indigenous Peoples and the Environment at the University of Rafael Landvar, Guatemala, with the presence of a Nobel Prize and International Scientists. The forum was postponed on two occasions and finally cancelled.
On Saturday, 18th July 2005, a consultation of the Indigenous People was carried out in the affected zone. A total of 2,415 people voted NO to the mine and only 30 people in favour.

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