THE MINISTER TAKES LEGAL ACTION AGAINST MONTANA
by Alberto Ramirez, Prensa Libre
(Translated by Rosalind Gill, for Rights Action)
Luis Ferraté, Minister of the Environment, has presented a criminal accusation to the Public Ministry against Montana Exploradora [Goldcorp Inc], insisting on an investigation into the discharge of residual waters from the tailings pond at the Marlin mine in San Marcos, because it may contaminate the Quivichil river.
The accusation, received by the Ministry on September 28, states that on September 23, the Marlin mine, owned by Montana, a subsidiary of the Canadian company Goldcorp, discharged water from its tailings pond and that this water may cause heavy metal pollution.
Attached to the accusation is a note from the Ministry Environmental Management Unit attesting to the fact that the discharge took place without authorization from the Ministry and that there is no way of knowing if the discharge carried out by the company followed proper procedure.
The Ministry of the Environment has asked the Chancellery to notify the Government of Mexico of the discharge, as the Quivichil river drains into that country.
CONTENT OF THE LIQUID
Rafael Maldonado, Coordinator of the Centre for Legal Environmental and Social Action said that today he will ask the Ministry to broaden the investigation to cover crimes of falsehood and misrepresentation because Montana has stated in paid advertisements that it had received authorization from the Ministry.
He added that after the Constitutional Court’s declaration of unconstitutionality in 2008, it was established that Montana could only discharge its tailings pond if it were free of contamination. This would involve previous analysis and authorization by the Ministry of the Environment.
Álvaro Ramazzini, Bishop of the Diocesis of San Marcos, is of the opinion that the problem is the fact that nothing is known about the content of the water in the tailings pond and he added that communities have not been provided with any information.
GOLDCORP: THEY WERE NOT NOTIFIED
Mario Marroquín Rivera, Executive Director for Goldcorp in Guatemala, owner of Montana Exploradora, indicated that they had not been officially notified of the accusation by the Ministry of the Environment.
In a paid advertisement, Montana stated that the discharge of water in the Marlin mine was carried out in a transparent manner and that it was monitored and supervised by public regulatory agencies. Montana said that the discharge was mostly made up of rainwater that had accumulated during the winter and had been re-circulated by the industrial water treatment plant.