Canadian Mining Journal


SILVER: Guatemala pulls licence for Tahoe’s Escobal mine

The Escobal plant at dusk. (Credit: Tahoe Resources)

GUATEMALA – Vancouver-based Tahoe Resources is taking its case to the Guatemalan constitutional court after that country’s supreme court temporarily suspended the mining licence for its Escobal silver mine. The mine, the third-largest silver producer in the world, had 2016 output of 21.2 million oz. of silver in concentrate.

In May, an anti-mining organization calling itself Calas filed a claim against Guatemala’s ministry of energy and mines alleging that it violated the Xinca indigenous people’s right of consultation prior to the issuance of the mining licence. Calas argued that the licence should be suspended, and the supreme court agreed.

Tahoe was not party to the court case and did not have standing to make submissions to the court regarding the mining licence. The company has gained legal standing in the case now that the licence is suspended. Tahoe has promised to take all legal steps to have the licence reinstated as soon as possible.

The Escobal operation was subject to the blockade of its road on June 19 when protestors, claiming that work at Escobal causes seismic activity in a town more than 20 km away. That allegation was debunked by the government agency responsible for studying seismic activity.  Less than a week later, on June 23, the Guatemalan government took action to disburse the protestors using tear gas, despite ongoing talks between the company, protestors and government.

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