As mentioned here
previously, community members of San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc, 45 minutes outside of Guatemala City, have been legally and peacefully engaging in an encampment and, for nearly a year now, have maintained a human roadblock to the mine, preventing machinery and mining employees from entering the site. They fear the mine will endanger their well being and contaminate their already scarce water supply. All this at great personal cost.
In the first week of December, hundreds of police and anti-riot troops, along with mining company personnel, arrived to evict the community members. At least three community members needed medical attention due to breathing in the tear-gas after the aggression by the armed forces. During the attack, the community members held their ground, peacefully, and sang songs. For the time being, the police and other armed forces have again backed down. The encampment continues legally and peacefully.
The fear that the community have was confirmed by US engineer and mining expert Rob Robinson, who analyzed the 900-page Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the El Tambor gold mine and travelled to Guatemala to present his findings to the Guatemalan government, the press, and affected communities.
“The analysis is so bad that it can’t help us predict or prevent the negative effects of the mine,” explained Mr. Robinson. “It gives no confidence that the mining company will protect the environment or the health of the communities.”
Grahame Russell writes here
in rabble.ca about the police attack and the article also contains good background material as well as a video and the text of a letter from the new owners of the mine, KCA. More on the environmental impact report can be found here
on the Mining Justice Alliance website (from GHRC).