Located in Central America, Guatemala's official languages are Spanish, as well as 22 indigenous languages. Once a Spanish colony, Guatemala established
its independence in 1821. It has the 70th largest population in the world, with 14 million inhabitants, at a density of 134.6 per square km.
Like many countries in Central America, its territory includes many biologically significant and unique ecosystems. Guatemala has an estimated total GDP of
$38.9 billion, of which the mining sector accounts for less than 1%.
The major mineral deposits that fuel the extractive industry in Guatemala are gold and silver. Other exports include antimony, iron and lead. The majority
of the non-metal production is sold nationally, and includes basalt, calcite and silica. Canada's HudBay Minerals owns a currently dormant nickel mine in
The social license to operate is very important in Guatemala, where indigenous communities and land claims are in the spotlight following a 36-year-long
civil war in the country. Major issues currently stem from water availability and contamination, and their adverse effects, resulting from mining
activities near human settlements.