Green Blood: The Guatemalans who pay the price for the west’s need for nickel – by Juliette Garside (The Guardian – June 19, 2019)

The road to Guatemala’s biggest nickel mine is barely visible through a cloud of red dust, churned up by the 25-tonne trucks that thunder past loaded with ore.

From the choking haze a cyclist emerges, weaving between the lorries. On his back he carries a bundle of firewood. Goggles protect his eyes, a bandana covers his nose and mouth.

Manuel Choc, a grandfather with greying hair, lives in the settlement of El Paraíso, almost opposite the gates of the Fenix mine. Each bundle sells for 10 quetzals (£1). It is a precarious living.

“Many people have died on the road,” says Choc. “The trucks run them over and often they don’t stop. Many people. Someone died just over there. The drivers, they do nothing. But God, he knows.” In many ways, the perilous roads are the least of his problems.

Exporting its mineral to Europe and beyond, where it is used in mills producing stainless steel, Fenix is the focus of claims about water and air pollution, and fears of political corruption.

For the rest of this article: