PBI-Honduras amplifies CEHPRODEC message about Guapinol and Azacualpa resistance to mines

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: Agence France-Presse.

On March 30, PBI-Honduras tweeted: “From @Cehprodechn [Honduran Centre for the Promotion of Community Development] they warn that if “the mining concessions lead to territorial conflicts like @guapinolre or #Azacualpa, Honduras would be completely ungovernable”.”

Los Pinares mine

This past February, EFE reported: “Los Pinares has installed a processing plant for iron oxide pellets in the municipality of Tocoa, department of Colón and has requested an ‘expansion of the area of the concession from 100 hectares to 1,000 hectares.”

Then in March, @Guapinolre tweeted: “State declared the country free of mining but made an exception for Los Pinares/Ecotek – even though there is environmental contamination – so that it can continue destroying Carlos Escaleras National Park, showing how it succumbs to mining business pressure and economic influences.”

PBI-Honduras accompanies the Guapinol water defenders who spent 914 days in arbitrary detention for defending the Guapinol River from this mine.


On February 7, 2022, the Toronto-based Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) tweeted: “Beyond despicable that Canadian/US mining company @AuraMinerals just snuck in at night & illegally demolished a CEMETERY to mine the gold under it. The Mayan community of Azacualpa in #Honduras has been fighting to defend their loved ones’ remains for years. Here’s the before & after.”

MISN had previously explained:

“Aura Minerals, a Toronto-based mining company, is seeking to dig up and move a 200 year old cemetery near La Unión, Copán, Honduras. The community of Azacualpa has countless loved ones currently buried in this valued site, with the most recent burial just earlier this year. Aura Minerals says that they cannot continue mining for gold without exhuming and relocating the bodies.”

The Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia (MADJ) has also stated:

On Monday, March 4, 2019, criminal charges were presented against 19 members of the Azacualpa community in La Unión, Copán.

The community members are accused of causing damage against the mining company MINOSA, subsidiary of the Canadian/U.S. Aura Minerals.

These charges have been filed in the context of a long conflict caused by Aura/MINOSA ever since it started its mining operation in the area in 1997. 

Since 2012, this mining company has been attempting to dig up all the dead from the Azacualpa Cemetery, and move them, in order to exploit the gold underneath. The company has used diverse mechanisms and schemes to achieve its goals.

It should be noted that on January 11, 2015, during a town hall meeting, the Azacualpa Community voted AGAINST digging up the dead and then closing the cemetery for mineral exploitation.

Despite the community’s decision, the municipal government and other entities of the local government have ignored this sovereign decision and have facilitated the company’s operations by all possible means.

In December 2017, the Toronto-based company entered into a merger agreement with Rio Novo in which Aura acquired all the shares of Rio Novo. The company retains the Aura name and is currently listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

New mining law in Honduras?

MiningWatch Canada has stated: “The General Mining Law was developed with technical assistance paid for with Canadian overseas development aid. Its passage in 2013 lifted a seven-year moratorium on any new mining projects.”

It has also noted: “This law was developed and passed with strong diplomatic support from the Canadian embassy, and with contributions from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the former Canadian International Development Agency.”

Earlier this year, EFE reported: “Honduras announced on Monday [February 28] the cancellation of the approval of extractivist exploitation permits for ‘being harmful’ against the State and declared itself a country ‘free of open-pit mining’.”

BBC added: “The [new] government [of President Xiomara Castro], which was sworn in [on January 27] said that it would cancel environmental permits for mining operations across the country. It is not yet clear if the cancellation will apply only to new projects or also to those already operating.”

As noted above, @Guapinolre has tweeted: “State declared the country free of mining but made an exception for Los Pinares/Ecotek.”

We continue to follow this situation.

CEHPRODEC tweet: “[We are watching] the mining situation in Honduras, with its respective distribution by department. A problem that not only generates environmental impacts, but also social conflict. #NoToMining”


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