Libertad mining project, Chontales, Nicaragua

Mineros artesanales de Nicaragua se oponen a la minería a gran escala de la empresa canadiense B2Gold.

Ever since the Nicaraguan government declared its interest in 2001 to facilitate the development of mining projects, the number of Canadian investors in the Nicaraguan mining sector has increased. One of these investors is B2Gold, that has invested more than a 100 million dollars in exploration and exploitation activities since 2007. In the year 2009 B2gold acquired a 100% interest in the open pit gold mine of La Libertad and subsequently invested heavily in exploration and expansion of the mine. In 2010, B2Gold discovered the The Jabalí vein, which is located just south of the town of Santo Domingo, a traditional artisanal mining town since 1870. Since the arrival of B2Gold, the artisanal miners have seen their sources of income severely affected. In addition, the community of Santo Domingo criticised the deforestation of a hill without the realization of an EIA and showed preoccupation regarding threats of contamination of local water bodies, as well as the frequent use of the National Police and judicial authorities to protect the foreign investment. For example, the Mico´s river is known for high concentrations of pollutants and that affects not only the residents of La Libertad, but also have impacts on the communities and animal´s health downstream in Bluefields. Hundreds of artisanal miners as well as different communities affected by mining in Nicaragua have been protesting against the further expansion of B2Gold and demanded that the company halts its plans to develop a new mining area near its La Libertad and Santo Domingo operations that would jeopardize artisanal mining and could have a damaging effect on the environment. In August 2014, during the 1st International Mining Congress in Managua, the communities organised a environmental walk to express their concerns about the negative impacts of mining. However, several measures were taken by government officials to prevent the anti large-scale mining mobilization from entering into the city. During other manifestations artisanal miners have been arrested without cause. Paradoxically , Daniel Ortega's last governments have shown opposition to the mining project Crucitas, in Costa Rica, due to the threat to the river San Juan . However , this concern for the environment are not reflected in Nicaragua.
Basic Data
NameLibertad mining project, Chontales, Nicaragua
SiteSanto Domingo, La Libertad y San Pedro de Lóvago
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral processing
Land acquisition conflicts
Water access rights and entitlements
Tailings from mines
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
-In 2011 the company reported the extraction of 140 thousand troy ounces of gold in two different projects: El Limón (in the Department of León) and La Libertad (in the department of Chontales).
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Project Area (in hectares)28,200
Level of Investment (in USD)14,000,000.00 - 20,000,000.00
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population18000 - 20000
Start Date2006
Company Names or State EnterprisesDesarrollo Minero de Nicaragua Sociedad Anónima (Desminic SA) from Nicaragua - B2Gold national partner
Corazon Gold Corp from Canada - owner
Cooperativa de Pequeños Mineros de Santo Domingo from Nicaragua - artisanal miners
B2 GOLD Corp from Canada - owner
Relevant government actorsMinisterio de Recursos Naturales y del Ambiente (MARENA), Municipalidad de Santo Domingo, Ministerio de Energia y Minas (MEM), Fiscalía de la República, Policía Nacional, Poder Judicial
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCentro Nicaragüense de Derechos Humanos (CENIDH), Partido Socialista Centroamericano (PSOCA), Movimiento Guardianes de Yaoska, Movimiento Mesoamericano contra el Modelo extractivo Minero (M4), Cooperativa de Pequeños Mineros El Jabalí (COOPEMIJA), Centro Alexander Von Humboldt de Nicaragua
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingArtisanal miners
International ejos
Religious groups
Local ejos
Social movements
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
youth groups
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of a network/collective action
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Mine tailing spills, Other Environmental impacts
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Under negotiation
Application of existing regulations
Development of Alternatives-the paid of loss of earnings

-invest in rural tourism and the continue of the artisanal mining

-Double standard applied by Nicaragua - complaining against Costa Rica gold mining projects but not doing anything in Nicaragua against pollution of Mico River.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.B2gold has obtained permission to exploit the Jabali vein in La Libertad affecting the income of the Santo Domingo community and the environment. Finally, the government of Nicaragua is violating the right of protest to the Nicaraguan people.

Documented reports of pollution of the river Mico and affectation to the people of the river bank , have failed to stop the project.
Sources and Materials

Constitution of the Republic of Nicaragua
[click to view]

Ley especial sobre exploración y explotación de minas, Ley 387
[click to view]


Technical Report, Jabali Project La Libertad Concession (2001). B2Gold
[click to view]

Nomel Pérez Soza (2013). Revista Envío.“En seis años se habrán llevado todo el oro”
[click to view]


El Socialista Centroamericano. Nicaragua Mineros artesanales se rebelan contra la transnacional B2GOLD
[click to view]

La Prensa. Oro divide en Santo Domingo
[click to view]

La Nación Dominicana. Sube de tono conflicto minero con firma canadiense en Nicaragua
[click to view]

La Prensa, Altos precios del oro animan exploración minera
[click to view]

Construcción de mina Jabalí de B2Gold comenzará este año
[click to view]

Contaminación acecha al río Mico
[click to view]

Centroamérica Mina Orosi
[click to view]

Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de America Latina OCMAL. Ceicom, Ficha de Registro Impactos Negativos de la mineria en Nicaragua.

Media Links

Mineros se enfrentan a antimotines, febrero 2013
[click to view]

Other Documents

Libertad para los detenidos en Santo Domingo
[click to view]

Artisanal miners Actividad minera tradicional en el río Sucio, cerca del barrio Jabalí. Municipio Santo Domingo, Departamento de Chontales.
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorPatricio Chavez y Grettel Navas
Last update15/03/2016