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2007 Community files legal opposition to Environmental Impact Assessment

On 17 May 2007, Colectivo Madreselva and members of Asunción Mita municipality (Jutiapa Department) filed their opposition to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) presented by Goldcorp to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN). The same EIA had been presented to and rejected by MARN officials in 2004 and 2005. However, the team responsible for its rejection was replaced. In 2007, when the EIA was resubmitted to MARN, Colectivo Madreselva and local residents filed a petition of opposition to the EIA, raising a series of concerns about its grave inadequacies. These included, among other arguments, that the EIA lacked information on the Cerro Blanco projects’s potential contamination of watercourses and aquifers, with resulting impacts on health, environment, and farming. The opposition also indicated the lack of proper consultation with affected communities. Despite submitting this opposition according to the requirements of the law, Colectivo Madreselva never received a response from MARN or the company regarding mitigation measures to be taken to resolve the issues raised.  

On 14 August 2007, Entre Mares and Goldcorp were informed that the EIA had been approved by MARN, and in September the same year, MEM granted exploitation rights for the Cerro Blanco mine for 25 years. Experts subsequently detailed flaws in the EIA with MEM and MARN as well as legislators, highlighting the real threats posed by the Cerro Blanco mine, but neither the EIA nor the exploitation licence were ever revoked.


Type of Action / Tipo de Acción:
Administrative Proceedings
Extractive Project / Proyecto extractivo:
Region / Región:
Central America
Country / País:
Natural Resource / Recurso natural:
Gold, Silver
Jurisdiction / Jurisdicción:
Guatemalan System
Category of Key Actors in Legal Action / Categoría de actores claves en la Acción Legal:
Civil Society Organizations, Community Representatives, State Institutions, Company(ies)
Human Rights Violated/Claimed:
Right to due process, Right to a healthy environment
Key Legal Actors Involved / Actores jurídicos clave involucrados:
Association of Madre Selva, Community Representatives, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM), Goldcorp Inc.
Year Action Started / Año de inicio:
References / Referencias:

Colectivo Madreselva, “Casos de gestión de seguridad ambiental y humana, relacionadas con la industria minera de metales en las cuencas de los Ríos Cuilco, Motagua, Los Esclavos, y Ostúa-Guija, en la República de Guatemala”, dated August 2016, online:, accessed 14 October 2021.

The Juridification of Resource Conflicts: Legal Cultures, Moralities and Environmental Politics in Central America, Interview by Dr Ainhoa Montoya and Dr Rupert Knox with representative of Colectivo Madreselva on 24 August 2021.

Dina Larios López and CEICOM, “Análisis del Estudio de Impacto Ambiental para el Proyecto Minero Cerro Blanco, Asunción Mita, Jutiapa, Guatemala”, dated 10 March 2010, online:, accessed 13 October 2021.

Robert H. Robinson, ” Propuesta de Proyecto Minero de Cerro Blanco. Comentarios Preliminares Al Estudio de Evaluación de Impacto Ambiental”, Wheat Ridge, Colorado, dated 25 July 2012,, accessed 13 October 2021.