June 24, 2010 / 1:43 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 3-Goldcorp Guatemala mine will remain open for now

 * Guatemala says Goldcorp mine still operational
 * Goldcorp says no evidence of pollution at mine
 (Adds company comment paragraphs 4-5)
 By Sarah Grainger
 GUATEMALA CITY, June 24 (Reuters) - Goldcorp Inc's Marlin mine in
Guatemala is still operating and the government will need months to
comply with a request to suspend operations there due to
environmental concerns, the mining ministry said on Thursday.
 The Guatemalan government said on Wednesday it would begin a
process to halt activity at the mine after a regional human rights
body said water around the mine was contaminated. [ID:nN23259957]
 "It is a legal process and that takes time. It takes a long time.
I would say months," mining ministry spokesman Rene Rodriguez told
Reuters. "The mine is operating right now. You can't just show up
there with some soldiers and shut it."
 Goldcorp, which runs the mine through local subsidiary Montana
Exploradora de Guatemala S.A., said the site would remain fully
operational until it received further notice from the Guatemalan
government.
 "The mine is not yet suspended," Goldcorp Vice President Eduardo
Villacorta told a news conference in Guatemala City. "I think its up
to the state to give us official notification once it has established
how its going to proceed in this case."
 The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, part of the
Organization of American States, is investigating complaints of
contaminated water supplies from local residents who live near the
mine in western Guatemala.
 The commission requested last month that the government order the
company to stop work at the mine until the investigation is
complete.
 The government said its own studies had not been able to verify
the complaints brought by the community groups and Goldcorp G.TO
GG.N, a Canadian company, said there was no solid evidence of
environmental problems.
 "We concur with the statement of the Guatemalan government that
there is no evidence of pollution or ill effects to health or the
environment as a result of Marlin mine's presence," Goldcorp Chief
Executive Chuck Jeannes said in a statement.
 "In the absence of such evidence, we continue to believe there is
no basis for suspending operations at the mine," he added.
 Goldcorp said the government would initiate an administrative
process to further investigate the pollution allegations.
 A team from the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights will
visit the mine in July to conduct more evaluations.
 Despite the pending suspension order, Goldcorp seemed to indicate
that operations at the mine, which produced 274,900 ounces of gold
and 4.157 million ounces of silver in 2009, would continue while the
government review was being conducted.
 (Additional reporting by Euan Rocha in Toronto; Editing by Sofina
Mirza-Reid)


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