The Constitutional Court of Guatemala confirmed on Monday the suspension of the operations of the Canadian mining company Tahoe Resources and ordered the State to carry out an “immediate” public consultation that includes the indigenous peoples of the surrounding communities.
The operations at the Juan Bosco and El Escobal deposits, owned by the Guatemalan Minera San Rafael, were suspended in July 2017 by a judge who backed an environmental organization claiming that nearby communities were not consulted for the installation.
“The Court orders the consultation process immediately and when the consultation concludes the mine will be able to recover the previously granted license, but for now it will remain suspended,” said Martín Guzmán, Constitutional Court magistrate to the press.
The agency did not give details about when the consultation would begin or the time limit to complete it.
The Environmental and Social Legal Action Center of Guatemala (CALAS) last year asked the Constitutional Court for the definitive suspension of the mining company’s operations, arguing that the company did not take into account the indigenous communities that live in the vicinity of the project. for installation.
According to Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, the indigenous population must be consulted before initiating any extractive process within their territories.
The mining company said later that it expects the Constitutional Court to issue a formal resolution in the coming days and that it still does not know the chronology in which the ordered consultations will begin.
The mining company is one of the largest silver producers in the world. Since it suspended operations last year, 700 workers have been dismissed and the reported losses amount to US $ 5.3 million in royalties for the people who requested the consultation and US $ 289 million for the company.
On Friday, Tahoe Resources announced the suspension of operations at its La Arena gold mine in Peru, after protesters entered their property and demanded payments for the environmental impact in the community.
“Today it is clear that the mining license was granted by discriminating against the Xinca people, now we have to be vigilant on the part of the indigenous peoples to ensure the consultation,” Rafael Maldonado, an ex-lawyer of the environmentalists, told Reuters. last year.