This article originally appeared in The Nation magazine
The mine can’t be reached from the gate along the road, which is guarded by soldiers bearing M-16s and a helmeted foreman with a shotgun over his chest.
So if you want to see the sprawling mineral extraction complex being constructed here in Honduras’s lush Bajo Aguán valley, you have to hike past El Guapinol, one of the villages many fear the mine will poison. You ascend a mud-sluiced path of boulders, passing a line of barbed wire to reach a grassy embankment. From there, you can see the excavators, the trucks, the rows of concrete pilings, and the gaping brown hole scraped out of the valley’s verdant floors. The mine, whose conjoining iron oxide processing factory is set to be the largest in Central America, hasn’t been built yet. But blood is already being spilled over it.
“We live in fear every day,” says Reinaldo Domínguez, a resident of El Guapinol, looking out over the construction site in the distance.