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News > El Salvador

Guatemalans and Salvadorans Reject Cerro Blanco Mining Project

  • Protest against open-pit mining near the Lempa River, 2023.

    Protest against open-pit mining near the Lempa River, 2023. | Photo: X/ @InformaTVX

Published 1 February 2024

The open-pit mining project could affect the Lempa, the longest river in Central America.

On Wednesday, residents of Asuncion Mita in Guatemala and Salvadoran environmentalists protested against Cerro Blanco, an open-pit mining project located in the Guatemalan area of Jutiapa near the border with El Salvador.


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On January 18, the Canadian company Bluestone Resources announced that the Guatemalan Environment Ministry authorized the change of its license from underground mining to open-pit mining.

Social organizations from both countries, however, maintain that this form of mining will irremediably affect the Lempa River, Lake Güija, and other water sources in the area.

Salvadoran and Guatemalan organizations requested authorities from both countries to classify this mining project as illegal and unfeasible. Peter Arrieta, a Guatemalan resident of Asuncion Mita, stated that Cerro Blanco is not an environmentally responsible project.

"That's not true. We all know that responsible mining does not exist," he emphasized, adding that entrepreneurs often deny their responsibility when environmental damage appears.

He also pointed out that mining exploitation in that area would only lead to the destruction of ecosystems and water pollution in both countries.

Luis Gonzalez, a member of the Salvadoran Ecological Unit, urged authorities to cancel Cerro Blanco, as open-pit metal mining is one of the most harmful extractive industries.

According to the Canadian company, the Cerro Blanco project is expected to yield 2.6 million ounces of gold over its 14-year lifespan.

In 2013, then-Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes announced the creation of a commission to analyze the potential impact of a gold mine on Lake Güija and the Lempa River.

Considered the Central American longest river with 422 kilometers in length, Lempa crosses Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Its resources are mainly used for irrigation and electricity generation.

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