Goldcorp damages health in Honduras

Mother holding young child with blisters on its back

Child with a skin disorder. Photo: Madre Tierra

Madre Tierra (Friends of the Earth Honduras) has denounced the health problems in Valle de Siria caused by a subsidiary of the Canadian gold company Goldcorp.

Medical studies conducted in 2007 on 62 people in 3 municipalities showed that they all had high concentrations of heavy metals in their blood including cyanide, lead, mercury and arsenic. Their blood lead level was above the level permitted by the World Health Organization.

Valle de Siria is about 70 kilometres north of the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. Goldcorp began mining at the San Martin mine in 2000 and closed it in 2010. Madre Tierra says that the mining operations caused health problems in Cedros, San Ignacio and El Porvenir municipalities. The families affected continue to suffer the consequences of the mine’s contamination and were never compensated. Experts say the pollution in the area will last over a hundred years.

Dr Almendares, a physiologist, said the people affected have not received medical attention and they “have been excluded by [Goldcorp] which has dug into the brains, souls and spirit of the people condemned in this valley at the expense of tears and pain”.

He also wants the Honduran authorities to investigate the death of a 9 year-old girl in one of the communities. She had lead in her blood. The doctor also demanded the study of cases of illnesses, abortions and births with malformations in the region. He wants a health care plan for the people affected.

The mayor of El Porvenir, Luis Rubi, said “there are many people in our communities with skin, skull and breathing diseases... we are really concerned about the deterioration of people’s health in Valle de Siria as a result of mining in the area”.

Take action

Please e-mail Chuck Jeannes, President and CEO of Goldcorp and demand justice for all the people affected in Valle de Siria.