Skye Resources delays El Estor mining

 Photo by James A. Rodriguez/
Left homeless:  Displaced by mining, these children face an uncertain future without intervention and support.  Photo by James A. Rodriguez
EL ESTOR, Guatemala - In response to deteriorating financial markets, Skye Resources of Vancouver, B.C. has suspended development of its nickel mining project. El Estor has been the site of protests by the indigenous Maya Q'eqchi' people in response to repeated incidents of violence against them related to the mining project.

In a company press release, Skye Resources emphasized that the delay is temporary, based only on current market conditions. "In light of the recent turmoil in the credit markets we have chosen what we believe is the most prudent course of action for our shareholders," said Ian Austin, Skye President and CEO.  "The delay will be managed to preserve maximum value from the activities completed to date and position us to ramp back up as quickly as possible." 

The Indian Law Resource Center represents Defensoria Q'eqchi', an indigenous organization representing the Maya Q'eqchi' people of El Estor, in their fight to defend their collective land rights and to preserve the lands they have occupied for thousands of years.

The Center has secured protective measures for five leaders of Defensoria Q'eqchi' whose lives had been threatened because of their human rights advocacy work. The Center will take advantage of this temporary pause in site development to push its efforts to secure title to the land of the Maya Q'eqchi' peoples.

Photo by James A. Rodriguez/ 
Lives shattered: Maya Q'eqchi' who lost everything are now seeking justice. James A. Rodriguez photo.
More recently, the Guatemalan government has attempted to take control of the lands of the Maya Q'eqchi' by re-classifying their lands as "preserves."  The Center will represent the Maya Q'eqchi' on this issue in a thematic hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on March 10 in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, a Guatemalan congressman, Byron Chacón, Department of Izabal for the GANA party, blamed the project's delay on the 150 Maya families that last year "invaded" lands allegedly belonging to Skye Resources.  Chacón's comments were reprinted on January 31st in national newspapers in Guatemala. Given the history of violence associated with El Estor, there is concerned that Chacón's comments may provoke retaliation against Defensoria Q'eqchi' and others.

You may write to the following individuals to demand the safety and security of the Maya Q'eqchi' communities of El Estor:   

Diputado Byron Chacón,

Ian Austin, President and CEO, Skye Resources Suite 1203-700 West Pender Street Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6C 1G8,

CANADA PENSION PLAN (as of March 31, 2007, the CPP owned 629,000 shares worth 4.17 million dollars.  Source: Canada Pension Plan Investment Board,, 416-868-4075, Toll Free: 1-866-557-9510.

Ms. Bev Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, 509-S Centre Block, House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6,

Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 509-S Centre Block, House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6,

Embassy of Canada in Guatemala, Attention Ms. Maryse Guilbeault, 13 Calle 8-44 Zone 10, Edificio Edyma Plaza, Ciudad de Guatemala, Tel. (502) 2363-4348,

Office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights in Guatemala Attention to Anders Kompass 5a Av. 5-55, Zona 14 Edificio EUROPLAZA, Torre III, Nivel 14 Ciudad de Guatemala, Tel.: (502) 23823400,