Mesoamerica: M4 Resolution of the Extractive Mining Model


Conference statement

Date of publication: 
1 April 2012

Mining companies invade our land and all of them, the majority Canadian, violate our fundamental human rights. Throughout Mesoamerica, mining has displaced people from their homes and indigenous territories and has generated serious health problems in places like Valle de Siria in Honduras, San Miguel Ixtahuacán in Guatemala, and Carrizalillo in Mexico.

In passing through our territories, the companies have poisoned springs and divided communities and families; they have deforested land, destroyed biodiversity and threatened food sovereignty in rural and indigenous areas. The companies contribute to the corruption of our countries’ local and national authorities, and also serve as principal actors in the rising repression and criminalization we face from the government when we demand respect for our rights or when we denounce environmental injustices. As a result, activists and human rights defenders from Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico have received death threats, suffered injuries, faced jail time and been murdered. Within this extractive mining model, green mining or sustainable mining does not exist and neither does the corporate social responsibility that the companies so persistently present, in spite of the evidence of social violence and irreparable environmental damages generated by their investments.

The M4 declares that the extractive mining model is intrinsically unsustainable due to its characteristics and mode of operation. The economic model transfers huge earnings to a few transnational mining companies at the cost of the displacement and impoverishment of the Mesoamerican people.

As affected communities, social movements, networks, organizations, subsistence farmers and indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica, we lift our voices in opposition to the extractive mining model in our region. We call on society to resist this model with us and to create alternative lifestyles, in which respect for human rights, not profit or environmental destruction, determines the way we live.

To note the particular case of Goldcorp’s Marlin Mine in Guatemala, the Canadian company does not even have an adequate closure plan, which will seriously impact the health, water, food, and housing of indigenous communities in the area. Goldcorp has provided a USD$1 million surety bond, when at least USD$49 million is needed for closure and company assets surpass the real GDP of Guatemala. Goldcorp’s Human Rights Assessment for the Marlin Mine fails to provide sufficient details on the closure plan, costs and schedule and the Canadian company will not allow a third party to verify the plan. Furthermore, the company has failed to inform communities directly affected by mining operations, as well as communities within the broader territory affected. The mine has caused serious and irreversible health problems in local communities. In September 2011, Goldcorp was eliminated from the Dow Jones Sustainability Index because of environmental contamination at the Marlin Mine.

The Mesoamerican Movement Against the Extractive Mining Model (M4):

1) Demands that the Canadian company Goldcorp guarantee a sufficient surety bond for the closing of the Marlin Mine in Guatemala, in proportion to the estimated USD$49 million. The exact amount should be adjusted after a thorough dissemination of the company’s closure plan, an independent analysis, and a detailed report on the closure plan created before an open and informed consultation with the affected communities.

2) Asks that we join together in solidarity, as Goldcorp holds its shareholder meeting on April 26, 2012. We join Canadian struggles, organizations, and social movements that, in solidarity with Latin America and for their own well-being, will declare opposition to this Canadian company that preys on Latin American territory.

3) Urges pension funds and other economic sectors in Canada to withdraw their investments from Goldcorp. The company destroys the environment, corrupts local authorities, and generates waves of violence and systemic human rights violations in our territories. Company profits and gold are generated at the cost of thousands of lives of indigenous peoples and subsistence farmers affected by mining. People are dying of cancer and other diseases produced by the mine’s toxic waste.

4) Announces the next Popular International Health Tribunal co-organized by affected peoples from Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, as well as organizations from Canada and the USA, to denounce the health effects of Goldcorp investments in the region.

5) Launches, in alliance with other social movements on this continent and throughout the world, a campaign calling on Goldcorp to leave our territories.

6) Calls for the strengthening of the campaign against the use and consumption of gold.

7) Stresses the importance of the passage of Law C-323. The law would permit foreign citizens to accuse Canadian mining companies in Canadian courts for human rights violations committed in other countries against mine-affected populations.

8) Joins other social and indigenous movements in pressuring Canadian company Barrick Gold to withdraw “Barrick Hall” from the Natural History Museum of Ottawa. Barrick Gold, the first transnational company to extract gold, has a history of irreparable environmental damage throughout the world, including Canada, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Tanzania, and Papa New Guinea.

9) Rejects the commercialization of natural resources and Mother Earth, as well as the discourse on the “Green Economy” as promoted by Rio+20 and the G20 in conferences to take place in June of this year.

10) Urges social movements in South America to create a base for dialogue and alliances against the extractive mining model throughout the continent. We welcome the People’s Summit that will take place in June 2012 as an opportunity to strengthen the struggles of our people.


From Panama to Canada, NO to mining!