Goldcorp Inc. and Tahoe Resources Inc. are both Canadian mining companies registered on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). They own four mining projects in Guatemala aimed at extracting gold and other precious metals. Although the extraction of these metals leads to staggering profits for these companies, Guatemalan communities face an altogether different reality. This type of mining project signifies a genuine catastrophe for both the local people and the environment, largely due to the extraction methods used.The use of explosives, releasing toxic dust into the air; the use of extremely dangerous products as acid solvents to separate precious metals from ordinary rock; the use of extraordinary amounts of water that is then contaminated by the solvents… This process causes alarming environmental effects and serious public health problems that will last far longer than the duration of the mining activities themselves.
Some of the effects of Canadian mining projects in Guatemala:
- Water sources and groundwater tables contaminated with arsenic and mercury, while other water sources dry up.
- Dangerous levels of arsenic, copper, zinc and mercury in residents’ blood.
- Sudden miscarriages and neo-natal deaths.
- Respiratory and skin diseases.
- Ecosystem deterioration, destruction of mountains and air pollution.