[Guatemalan] government, the company, Minera San Rafael, continues actions focused on entering our municipalities through underhanded measures, knowing full well that the only thing they achieve is the generation of increased conflict, while disturbing the peace and community tranquillity. Clear proof of this is the granting of the exploration licenses named Juan Bosco and Andres during the first quarter of 2012. These licenses affect municipalities located in [the departments of] Santa Rosa, Jalapa and Guatemala. Now, despite the evident opposition of our communities and in a demonstration of disrespect for the clear wishes of the people, the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources has published the Environmental Impact Assessment (2014-EIA-4413) for the Juan Bosco Mine Exploitation License (LEXR-089-08), for public comment.
According to a presentation and information presented to investors in June in Vancouver, Canada, Tahoe Resources Inc. (owner of the Minera San Rafael, S.A.) plans to exploit at least 12 mineral veins in our territory, including gold, silver, zinc, etc. [According to Tahoe Resources] an area of 2,498 km2 will be exploited through various licenses, some that have already been obtained, others that are still in process. However, [the company] is selling this project to investors as though it already owns the land, arguing that the current government is pro-mining and that in Guatemala they pay an extremely low tax rate, making it a profitable business opportunity.
Faced with this grave situation, we have expressed our opposition to the chemical metal mining in our territories through municipal and good-faith community referendums. Today we are launching a campaign that seeks to make clear to the pro-mining and sell-out Guatemalan government, as well as the mining companies and their investors, that our land is not for sale. We have a development model that respects the environment and Mother Earth. For us, water and life are worth more, much more, than silver or gold.
Therefore, on more than 100 km of highway in our municipalities we have placed signs so that those who enter our territories know that more than 98% of residents do not want the chemical mineral mining and that we are in constant peaceful resistance to these projects.
Guatemala, August 2014