Accident suspends work at Guatemala gold mine

One worker trapped underground after fall-of-rock incident at Marlin mine

By Tyler Orton

A worker is missing following an accident at a Guatemala mine owned by Vancouver’s Goldcorp (TSX:G).

The employee was trapped underground early Thursday morning (April 14) at the Marlin gold mine when a “fall-of-rock” incident occurred, Goldcorp said in a statement.

The company did not immediately respond to calls and emails from Business In Vancouver.

"We are co-ordinating with first responders and the relevant authorities and will fully co-operate with the ongoing investigation to determine the cause of the accident," CEO David Garofalo said in a statement.

"We are offering support to the individual's family and employees at the mine site. The health and safety of our employees is our highest priority."

Goldcorp has suspended operations at the Marlin mine until authorities complete an investigation into the accident.

The mine is located about a five-hour drive from the nation’s capital, Guatemala City.

The operation has been a particularly controversial one for the Central American country, with concerns over its environmental impact and reports of extreme violence against those opposing its development.

A Tufts University report, Economic Benefits and Environmental Risks of the Marlin Mine, found governmental oversight has improved since the mine was first approved, though enforcement is still lagging and water quality monitoring is irregular.

A serious accident like this isn’t the first to hit a Vancouver-based mining company this year.

In March, two workers were killed at a Mexican mineowned by Vancouver’s Avino Silver and Gold Mines.

Avino did not release further details about that accident and did not respond to interview requests from Business In Vancouver.

-With a file from Hayley Woodin