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2008 and 2009 Latin American Water Tribunal Hearings [Guatemala/Marlin]

In 2008, the Latin American Water Tribunal convened its fifth session in Antigua, Guatemala. This session included a complaint brought by the Pluri-Cultural Centre for Democracy (CPD) against Guatemala and Montana Exploradora de Guatemala, S.A. (wholly owned subsidiary of Goldcorp Inc.) in respect of the Marlin Mine project in San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Sipacapa, Department of San Marcos. The complaint claimed that the Environmental Impact Assessment approved by Guatemala would not have been acceptable in the majority of developed countries, raised concern regarding water scarcity as a result of mining operations, as well as the negative impact on water quality (CPD, 2008). In its final decision, the Tribunal, among other things, censured the government of Guatemala for failing to comply with its obligations under the ILO Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, Principal Number 10 of the Rio Declaration, the Guatemalan Constitution, and the Peace Accords. It also found Montana Exploradora liable for damage caused to the environment and the people of San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Sipacapa (Loarca, 2016).

In 2009, the Tribunal held a conference in Costa Rica on the impact of open pit mining in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Peru. The panel considered the fact that the mining projects at issue were owned by foreign transnational corporations and the lack of capacity of governments and companies to develop projects in tropical environments, and also warned about the negative impacts of open pit mining experienced by these countries.

Type of Action / Tipo de Acción:
Popular Tribunal Proceedings
Extractive Project / Proyecto extractivo:
Region / Región:
Central America
Country / País:
Natural Resource / Recurso natural:
Gold, Silver
Jurisdiction / Jurisdicción:
Latin American Water Tribunal
Category of Key Actors in Legal Action / Categoría de actores claves en la Acción Legal:
Civil Society Organizations
Human Rights Violated/Claimed:
Right to water, Right to territory, Right to natural resources
Key Legal Actors Involved / Actores jurídicos clave involucrados:
Pluri-Cultural Centre for Democracy (CPD)
References / Referencias:

Carlos Loarca, “La conspiración de la Gubernamentalidad Empresarial en el caso de la mina Marlin”, Enfoque Año 8, No. 45, 20 September 2016, online:, accessed 27 September 2018.

Latin American Water Tribunal, “Advierten a los costarricenses sobre riesgos asociados a la minería a cielo abierto”, Comunicado de Prensa, dated 2009, online:, accessed 3 July 2018.

Pluri-Cultural Centre for Democracy (CPD), “Demanda contra el Estado de Guatemala y la empresa minera Montana Exploradora de Guatemala, S.A. por minería a cielo abierto y subterránea en los Municipios de San Miguel Ixtahuacán y Sipacapa”, dated 6 August 2008, online: accessed 28 September 2018.