Guyanese Indigenous Council Rejects Canadian Mining Company’s Flimsy Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, Calls for Rejection of Mining Permit

The Global Justice Clinic has been working with the South Rupununi District Council (SRDC) since 2016. Through the clinic, students have provided data analysis and legal support for monitoring activity undertaken by the SRDC. 

Last week, the South Rupununi District Council (SRDC), a legal representative institution for the Wapichan people, released a statement forcefully denouncing the procedurally and substantively defective environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) submitted by a Canadian mining company (Guyana Goldstrike) seeking to begin large-scale mining operations on Marutu Taawa through its Guyanese subsidiary (Romanex). Marutu Taawa, also known as Marudi Mountain, stands deep in the traditional territory of the Wapichan and holds historical, cultural, spiritual and biological significance for the entire region. Because Marutu Taawa sits at a critical watershed, the environmental impact of large-scale mining operations would threaten the ability of the Wapichan people to continue living in the ancestral lands they have called home for centuries. Notwithstanding the threat to the Wapichan people posed by large-scale mining, SRDC finds that Guyana Goldstrike’s ESIA relies on incomplete, inaccurate, or decades-old information to ignore the substantial environmental, public health, and cultural consequences that would occur if such mining operations were allowed to proceed. The SRDC also strongly condemns the mining company’s failure to consult the Council, as a legal representative institution of the Wapichan people. This failure to meaningfully consult stands in direct violation of both Guyanese and international law.

Given the inadequacy of the ESIA and Guyana Goldstrike’s flouting of domestic and international law, the SRDC has strongly encouraged the Guyanese Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deny the Canadian company’s subsidiary the environmental permit needed to initiate large-scale operations in the territory. The SRDC also calls on the EPA to oversee a process that ensures that Guyana Goldstrike and Romanex adhere to Guyanese and international law and best practices in the international mining sector.

This post was originally published as a press release on September 28, 20218.