Guatemala: One death and several injured during protest opposing mining activities of Solway Group allegedly causing water pollution

Fishermen have been protesting of the pollution of the Izabal Lake allegedly linked to the mining activities of PRONICO, part of Solway Group. In the last protest, one community member died and several resulted injured.

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Solway to respond; the response is available here. 

Guatemala_El_Estor_Credit_Sandra_Cuffe

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Article
28 June 2017

Clashes in Guatemala mining protest leaves 1 dead, 6 injured

Author: teleSUR (Venezuela)

Demonstrators concerned about contamination of the country’s largest lake, Lake Izabal, and the Dulce River took to the streets Saturday in El Estor, located nearly 100 miles northeast of the capital city, after talks over the operation of a nearby nickel mine broke down…Artisanal fishers and other concerned residents set up a blockade on a main street, only to soon be met by a counter protest, sparking clashes between opposing sides. According to local media, tensions broke into gunfire, killing one civilian and injuring six police officers…Protesters opposing the mine argue that pollution in Lake Izabal and the Dulce River have already affected the environment and the local artisanal fishing industry. The nickel extraction project is operated by a Guatemalan subsidiary, known as Pronico, of private EU-financed international mining conglomerate Solway Investment Group, headquartered in Switzerland… 

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Company response
5 June 2017

Solway Group response

Author: Solway Group

CGN/Pronico would like to express their regrets about the series of events in El Estor that took a tragic development on May 27. CGN/Pronico hereby clarifies that the Company was not a part of the armed conflict between the police forces and a group of protestors and therefore cannot by any means be held responsible for the consequences of criminal acts that took place…The Company possesses all the necessary operational licenses and environmental certificates. CGN/Pronico has been mediating negotiations with the protestors, representing themselves as the “members of artisanal fishing community of El Estor,” and supporting respected officials responsible for the matter since the fishing artisans requested an investigation on the Izabal Lake water pollution. The Company followed all legal rules and procedures imposed in the discussed case…

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