New Guatemalan govt to review Cerro Blanco mine License

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By LatAm Reports Editor

The alarms have sounded in El Salvador because mining activity in the neighboring country could contaminate the waters of the Lempa River with harmful materials.

Guatemala’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) Guatemalareported Wednesday that it has issued instructions for reviewing the environmental license for the Cerro Blanco Mining Project, which was renovated in 2023 and then approved, on January 9, even under the government administration of former President Alejandro Giammattei.

From Tuesday, January 23 of this year, instructions were issued to carry out a documentary analysis of the internal process of evaluation and approval of the file, he reported in a statement dated January 24.

MARN of Guatemala detailed in the bulletin that an environmental audit will be carried out in the project to verify the current situation and compliance with the mitigation measures established.

Communiqué of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Guatemala, in which they assure that they will review the renewal of license for the Cerro Blanco Mine. Photo EDH/ Courtesy

The Cerro Blanco mining project was authorized in 2007 and is located only 15 kilometres from Salvadoran territory.

For his part, last Tuesday, the councillor of the capital’s mayor’s office, Hector Silva, expressed his concern about the approval of the operating permit, warning that the activities of the Cerro Blanco Mine represent a direct danger to the water of El Salvador.

This is serious. The mine is 15 kilometers from the border with El Salvador and its wastewater could contaminate our rivers and lakes with cyanide and arsenic, Silva published on his X-yourtyre account.

Silva suggested that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should take letters on the matter, immediately, and protect the water of Salvadorans; he also stated that it is a national security issue and should be addressed urgently. If the president does not, the Assembly must demand them, the candidate for deputy for San Salvador also pointed out under the banner of the party Our Time.

Various social organizations have expressed concern about the imminent danger of contamination of the waters of Lake Guija and the Lempa River, by Mina Cerro Blanco, located in the municipality of Asunción Mita, department of Jutiapa, in Guatemala, bordering the department of Santa Ana.

The Lempa River is a primary source of water supply for at least two thirds of the population of Greater San Salvador.

According to the document Ficha País, published in August 2023 by the Diplomatic Information Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, the population of Greater San Salvador was 1,693,000 people.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in El Salvador