(Corrects figure in last paragraph to 4.16 million ounces of silver in 2009, instead of 4.16 ounces)
GUATEMALA CITY, June 10 (Reuters) - Guatemala’s government said on Thursday it was evaluating a request by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to close the country’s only major gold mine, citing environmental concerns.
The Commission, which is part of the regional Organization of American States, requested last month that Canadian company Goldcorp (G.TO) suspend mining operations at its Marlin mine, claiming water sources around the site have been contaminated.
Goldcorp said in a statement this week that the Commission’s allegations were “entirely without merit” but Guatemala’s government said it was studying the request to decide if it will take action, while signaling a shutdown was unlikely.
“(The government) has not yet responded to the Commission’s request,” Giuseppe Calvinisti, a spokesman for the president’s office, told Reuters on Thursday. “The issues are being evaluated.” He gave no date for a resolution to be made.
President Alvaro Colom told reporters last week that he was waiting on reports from government ministries before making a decision but suggested the complaints would not stand.
“There is no basis for (closing the mine),” Colom told reporters.
Marlin mine produced 274,900 ounces of gold and 4.16 million ounces of silver in 2009. The mine, in the western highlands of Guatemala, has met with sporadic opposition from some of the Mayan villages near the project since building began in 2004. (Reporting by Herbert Hernandez; Additional reporting by Sean Mattson in Mexico City; Editing by Gary Hill and Carol Bishopric)