A Gold-Mining Firm Is Doing Something Seriously Sinister To A Town In Honduras


Rachel Baxter

Copy Editor & Staff Writer

The company has exhumed 350 bodies so far. Lucy Brown - loca4motion/Shutterstock

Sticking to the saying “gold makes monsters of men”, a Canada-based gold-mining firm is exhuming bodies in a Honduran graveyard because they’re getting in their way. In retaliation, a group of villagers is taking legal action against the company in an attempt to prevent them from doing this.

The town of Azacualpa is located roughly 122 kilometers (76 miles) northwest of Honduras' capital, Tegucigalpa. On a nearby hill, lies a 200-year-old cemetery.


The Honduran subsidiary of Aura Minerals, Minerales de Occidente (Minosa), has so far exhumed 350 bodies from this cemetery to the horror of many of the residents. Meanwhile some members of the coffee-producing community have agreed to the exhumation of their relatives and have received payments in return.

However, Minosa is being criticised for taking advantage of people who have little money, and the compensation isn’t really compensation. The company had previously agreed to rehouse 400 families in exchange for permission to mine certain areas such as the site of the cemetery, but it seems it’s now just dishing out cash instead. In addition, it appears the firm has its eyes on the village as its next location to extract gold, so the residents may well have to move anyway.

“What we want is for the cemetery not to be touched,” Genaro Rodriguez, a 60-year-old Azacualpa resident, told The Guardian.

Another member of the community, Floresmira Lopez, recently had to guard her father’s grave to prevent miners from extracting his body. She also thinks the debacle has led to stress-induced health issues and family conflicts, The Guardian reports.


Family conflicts are affecting many members of the town as the mining company only requires permission from one family member to exhume a body. However, when some relatives oppose the removal and others don’t, tensions obviously arise. One 85-year-old man is being pressured to give the company permission to exhume his parents-in-law, but he doesn’t want to create conflict with their grandchildren, who are against the exhumations.

And there's more to the problem than just the removal of bodies – the residents are also accusing the gold mining of damaging both the environment and the health of the people living nearby.

For the time being, however, the exhumations have been stopped thanks to legal action taken by the residents.

“A judge ordered the mayor’s office to temporarily suspend the exhumation of the cadavers... while he decides on an injunction we presented on behalf of the villagers,” said Victor Fernandez, the lawyer acting for the town’s plaintiffs, according to Reuters. “As we understand it, the exhumations have stopped.”


Mining companies in Central America have often been criticized for corruption, violence, and harming the environment. Meanwhile, the firms defend themselves by saying they provide jobs to poor locals. We’ll have to wait to see how this most recent conflict pans out.

[H/T: The Guardian]


  • tag
  • Central America,

  • mining,

  • Honduras,

  • cemetery,

  • exhumation,

  • legal action,

  • gold mining