Press Conference: Goldcorp Operations in Central America (May 2010)

Media Advisory

10 AM, May 18, 2010, Press Conference on Central American Local Community Viewpoints at the Goldcorp Inc.’s Annual Shareholder Meeting in Toronto

Video of Press Conference

See also the RIGHTS ACTION Media Release of May 10, 2010, on a motion before the Goldcorp Annual Shareholders Meeting on FPIC (free, informed and prior consent).

The Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security of York University, in partnership with Rights Action, is convening a press conference on Tuesday, May 18, 10 AM, at the downtown campus of Osgoode Hall Law School (1 Dundas West at Dundas and Yonge, 26th Floor, Osgoode Professional Development Centre).

The press conference takes place the day before the Annual Shareholder Meeting in Toronto of Goldcorp Inc..  JAVIER de LEON and CARLOS AMADOR are community activists from Guatemala and Honduras, respectively.  They will speak on efforts to address the environmental and health harms and human rights violations that are associated – directly or indirectly – with two Goldcorp mines located near their towns of Maquivil in Guatemala (the Marlin mine) and El Porvenir in Honduras (the San Martín mine) , respectively. They will be joined by KAREN SPRING, of Rights Action, and Professor DAVID SZABLOWSKI of York University and of the Nathanson Centre.

The press conference starts at 10 am and will run until approximately 10:45. Javier de Leon, Carlos Amador, and Karen Spring will make introductory comments on the general situation with respect to the Goldcorp mines and on the plans of the Central American visitors to speak at the Goldcorp meeting the next day (May 19).  Questions from media representatives will then be answered.  Following the press conference, a session will follow until approximately 12 noon, which will be structured as an interview of the Honduran and Guatemalan guests by Professor Szablowski.  The event will be video-recorded and uploaded to the Nathanson Centre’s website.

The subject of the press conference is larger than the specific operations of Goldcorp, and concerns the impacts of Canadian mining activities more generally around the world including in various countries of Latin America.  For some background information, interested journalists may wish to consult some or all of the following:

  • “Paradise Lost: Are Canadian Mining Companies Giving Us a Bad Reputation Abroad?” – On April 17, CTV’s “W5” program aired a documentary focusing on the harmful impacts and human rights violations of both Goldcorp Inc’s gold mine in Mayan Mam communities and the nickel mine in Mayan Qeqchi communities of another Canadian company, HudBay Mineral.  Goldcorp Inc also operates a gold mine in Honduras.  Press conference participants Javier de Leon and Karen Spring each appear in the documentary.

    “Paradise Lost: Are Canadian Mining Companies Giving Us a Bad Reputation Aboard?” documentary

  • A recently updated article by Osgoode Hall Law School Professor, Shin Imai, and three Osgoode law students: “Goldcorp and Hudbay Minerals in Guatemala.”  (Click on “One-Click Download”; no registration or subscription is necessary to download.)  Professor Imai will also be at the press conference, and available to answer questions after the formal press conference.
  • On the ongoing litigation against directors of a Canadian mining company and the Toronto Stock Exchange for alleged harms in Ecuador, see information on Ramirez v. Copper Mesa. As one indication of the difficulty of holding Canadian mining corporations to account in Canadian courts, this case was dismissed by an Ontario judge on May 7, 2010, for failure to show a nexus between the defendants and the Ecuadorian plaintiffs; the plaintiffs have said they will appeal.  Due to the overlap of issues and due also to the proximity in time of this dismissal of the claim against Copper Mesa to the Goldcorp annual shareholders meeting, counsel for the plaintiffs in Ramirez v. Copper Mesa will participate in a second stage of the press conference.

Partiticipants

Javier de Leon
Javier is from the village of Maquivil, municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, department of San Marcos, Guatemala.  From his small home, he looks across at Goldcorp’s ever expanding open-pit, cyanide-leaching gold mine – the “Marlin” mine.  Since 2004, Javier has been educating and organizing Mayan Mam communities and working to resist and demand justice for the health and environmental harms and human rights violations caused by Goldcorp’s mine.

Carlos Amador
Carlos is a teacher and community leader in El Porvenir, Honduras, 15 kilometers from Goldcorp’s open-pit, cyanide-leaching gold mine – the “San Martin” mine.  Since 2000, Carlos has been educating and organizing local communities in the Siria Valley, and working to resist and demand justice for the health and environmental harms and human rights violations caused by Goldcorp’s mine.

Karen Spring
Karen is from Elmvale Ontario.  With Rights Action since early 2009, she lives and works in Honduras and Guatemala.

David Szablowski
Professor Szablowski is a professor in York University’s Law & Society program in the Division of Social Science, and is a member of the graduate program faculty of Osgoode Hall Law School.  His publications focus on the influence of globalization on domestic, international, and transnational legal authority.  His book entitled Transnational Law and Local Struggles: Mining, Communities and the World Bank was published in 2007 (Hart Publishing).

Murray Klippenstein
Counsel for the plaintiffs in Ramirez v. Copper Mesa and TSX.

Contacts

Virginia Corner
Communications Manager, Osgoode Hall Law School: vcorner@osgoode.yorku.ca

Craig Scott
Director, Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security:  cscott@osgoode.yorku.ca

Karen Spring
Rights Action: 416-951-0319; spring.kj@gmail.com

For details on the location (such as access to electrical outlets to charge camera batteries), contact Matthew Murray of the Osgoode Professional Development Centre: mmurray@osgoode.yorku.ca.

Further Information

For further information on Rights Action, visit www.rightsaction.org. Rights Action is a not-for-profit organization that has funded and supported community-based development, human rights and environmental projects in Guatemala and Honduras (as well as Haiti, El Salvador and southern Mexico) for 15 years.

list of Nathanson Centre experts on the intersection of transnational corporate accountability and social justice