Washington, DC, September 8, 2005 —
The International Finance Corporation’s independent Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman
(CAO) said on Thursday that the Marlin gold mine in Guatemala, an IFC investment
project, has managed environmental impacts of the project appropriately
and that the community near the mine does not face any significant environmental
The independent CAO report finds that the residents from the municipality
of Sipacapa, who had filed the complaint with the CAO office, will not
face “a significant risk from any contamination to waterways” and that
they “will not experience increased competition for water.” The complaint
had asserted that the mine is certain to cause environmental damage. The
town of Sipacapa is located about 12 kilometers from the mine.
“The CAO’s report validates IFC’s own assessment that there won’t be
significant adverse environmental impacts for the people of Sipacapa,”
said Rashad Kaldany, director of IFC and the World Bank’s Oil, Gas, Mining
and Chemicals Department. “We are hopeful that the report will help clear
up some of the misinformation and controversy around the mine and alleviate
anxieties about its environmental impact,” he added.
IFC is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. The Marlin mine
is operated by Montana Exploradora de Guatemala, a subsidiary of Glamis
IFC fully supports the CAO’s key recommendations, including the establishment
of a dialogue among the mine’s stakeholders. IFC believes additional community
engagement efforts are needed and that more extensive consultations and
communications after construction started might have helped to alleviate
concerns among local people. The CAO recommends a “comprehensive and participatory
plan for the public monitoring of environmental performance of the project.”
Local communities and the mine are now engaged in setting up such a process,
so that the community can participate in environmental monitoring. This
is being done with the help of a respected nongovernmental organization,
local universities, and religious organizations. This process is designed
to enhance the trust between local people and the mine.
IFC is convinced that mining will contribute to sustainable development
in Guatemala, as natural resources can be an important driver of growth
and poverty alleviation. The Marlin mine has already brought a number of
tangible benefits to local communities. Examples include:
The mine is being built in a sparsely populated rural area, where farmers
are usually able to derive only a subsistence living. First improvements
in the region can already be measured:
· Job creation
has significantly reduced the need for local residents to migrate to the
coast during the harvest season, a practice that was very disruptive, particularly
to the schooling of their children.
· The area
around the mine is now enjoying economic development and growth as a result
of the jobs that have been created for local people and the significant
expenditures the company is making for the mine and for social projects.
Montana has invested over Q10 million ($1.3 million) to date in social
and environmental programs that directly benefit the communities close
to the mine. These programs include:
of chlorinators in the municipal water systems of San Miguel Ixtahuacán
· Support for
construction of a medical clinic, with 24-hour service for the community.
Montana has purchased and equipped an ambulance, and helicopter rescue
service is available.
with Banco de Desarrollo Rural to establish the first branch of a bank
in San Miguel Ixtahuacán to provide services and financing to small and
· Funding for
the hiring of 11 teachers for seven schools in nearby communities, for
repairs to school facilities for these and other schools in the area, and
for books and materials during the past school year.
of much-needed infrastructure to facilitate communications, transport,
and trade between towns, including a road from La Hamaca to Salitre, a
road from San José Nueva Esperanza to Sipacapa, and a bridge that is benefiting
12 communities in San Marcos and Huehuetenango.
or donation to the community of over 105,000 saplings to the reforestation
areas in the Marlin project and surrounding areas, with more than 100 hectares
of reforestation carried out in 2004.
The company also established a foundation, Fundación Sierra Madre, with
assistance from Citizens Development Corps, a Washington-based nongovernmental
organization, to plan and implement sustainable, community-based development
and capacity building programs in the local municipalities. To date, the
health services to more than 1,200 people during five company-sponsored
18 communal banks, with more than 420 local women participating and receiving
a total of over $100,000 in microcredits;
technical assistance for local entrepreneurs, such as a Sipacapa-based
tailor who sells uniforms to the mine;
· Trained more
than 300 people in vocational skills such as carpentry, sewing, cooking,
the creation of local enterprises that have generated a number of jobs,
including more than 50 people employed in local reforestation projects;
training to health volunteers, including midwives and rural health posts,
through the San Miguel-based NGO, APROSAMI;
· Helped to
establish agroforestry businesses, including potato, bean, and peach farming;
with an NGO, Helps International, to introduce a new closed-flame stove
that significantly reduces smoke emissions, with 25 families each in San
Miguel and Sipacapa participating in the pilot project;
· With funding
from IFC’s Corporate Citizenship Facility, helped establish community-managed
nurseries to supply the mine's reforestation needs.
The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org)
is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries,
helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private
sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international
financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44
billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143
companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio
as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held
for participants in loan syndications.
For IFC-related interview requests in English or Spanish, please contact
Hannfried von Hindenburg or Adriana Gomez.
To contact Montana or Glamis, please write to or call Joe Danni, VP for
Communications at Glamis, email@example.com,
(+1) 775-827-4600 (ext. 3123)
For the company’s Annual Monitoring Report, which describes the developmental
impacts of the project, visit http://www.glamis.com/properties/guatemala/marlin_index.html.
To find out more about Fundación Sierra Madre, the foundation established
by the mine, visit http://www.cdc.org/desktopdefault.aspx?page_id=122
or contact Daphne de Souza Lima Sorensen of Citizens Development Corps
(CDC) at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (+1) 202-530-7689
For a copy of the CAO report and a summary, go to www.cao-ombudsman.org.