Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 14, 2007
Bishop who refuses formal dialogue 'has a point' – mining official
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
The mining executive who built a controversial gold and silver mine in Guatemala says the local bishop has refused to have a formal dialogue with the company because he objects to the one per cent royalty the mine pays.
Tim Miller, Goldcorp's vice president for Central and South America, agrees the bishop "has a point."
Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini of San Marcos travelled to Canada two years ago to raise awareness of an open pit mine then in the development stages by Glamis Gold, acquired by Vancouver-based Goldcorp last November.
At the time, the bishop raised concerns about the use of cyanide to leach the gold from the open pit mine's ore, and other environmental effects. He has continued to raise concerns about the impact on the indigenous community.
The mine is now in production and has another 10 years of expected operation (see WCR, May 7).
Ramazzini's concerns have been shared by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, and the Congregation of Notre Dame (CND) in a recent letter to Canada's foreign affairs minister.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has also joined CCODP in urging all Canadian extractive industries to be bound by Canadian laws when operating in developing countries.
Miller said his company has had some "on and off" informal dialogue with Ramazzini. "The bishop was not interested in talking with us, but was assisting in dialogue with other groups."
Ramazzini would like to see money from the taxes generated in the area come back and help with overall development locally and not be spread out across the country.
In a phone interview from Guatemala May 8, Miller said, "The company doesn't really get involved in what the federal government wants to charge as a royalty."
As for how the royalty is dispersed in Guatemala, he said, "That's a national issue."