|Angelica Choc filed her case against HudbayMinerals Inc. in December 2010
for the murder of her husband Adolfo Ich Chamán. Photo: Graham Hunt
This historic decision marks the first time a Canadian court will hear a case against a Canadian company for human rights abuses committed at a foreign mine site. It undoubtedly sets a strong precedent for future cases of abuses committed by North American companies operating abroad. In the words of Murray Klippenstein, lawyer for the 13 plaintiffs; “As a result of this ruling, Canadian mining corporations can no longer hide behind their legal corporate structure to abdicate responsibility for human rights abuses that take place at foreign mines under their control at various locations throughout the world.” Read the full press release here or visit the Choc v. Hudbay website for more information.
On the heels of the effective suspension of Tahoe Resources’ exploitation license for the Escobal silver mine, Canadian mining giant, Goldcorp, which is also a 40% shareholder in Tahoe’s project, announced the indefinite suspension of its Cerro Blanco gold mine located close to the Guatemala, El Salvador border in the department of Jutiapa. Goldcorp contends that the project was put on hold due to falling metal prices, but that the company is not contemplating its permanent closure.
Earlier this year, members of Breaking the Silence, MiningWatch, the Center for International Environmental Law and other North American organizations traveled to Asunción Mitla, the site of the Cerro Blanco mine, as part of a delegation to investigate the impacts of gold mining on water sources in El Salvador. The delegation reported on their visit to Asunción Mita where they heard firsthand from community representatives about nearby hot springs threatening the project and also community concerns related to the possible environmental impacts of the mine, especially on El Salvadoran water sources.
|The Cerro Blanco mine has been the subject of international controversy due to its
potential negative environmental impact on both Guatemalan and El Salvadoran territories.