Mine Suspension and Future of Investments

Although in Guatemala the right to operate the El Escobal mine was granted in law, the project has been suspended for two years, making future investments in the country unviable.

Friday, July 5, 2019

The disadvantages for Minera San Rafael's operations date back to 2017, when in May of that year the Guatemalan Center for Legal, Environmental and Social Action (Calas) filed a protective action, arguing that the Ministry of Energy and Mines had not conducted the necessary community consultations before authorizing the licenses.

A month later, the Supreme Court of Justice granted Calas protection, and as a result, the mine's operations have been suspended since July 5, 2017.

Alfredo Gálvez, spokesman for the Guild of Extractive Industries, explained to Prensalibre.com that there is concern "... because of the Court's suspension of a mining right that was granted in law and that was breached by the State. The lack of consultation is an error of the State. Under current conditions the mining sector has no future in the country since the Ministry of Energy and Mines is not allowed to authorize exploration licenses. According to the ruling of the CC not only the exploitation licenses need a consultation with the indigenous communities of the area of influence, but also the exploration licenses.

The implementation of the Community consultation as a requirement for the implementation of a project is part of Convention 169, and according to Gálvez not only affects the mining sector, since this is only one of many industries or productive activities that could be subject to consultation.

Andrés Dávila, manager of Corporate Communications at Pan American Silver, the new owner of the mining project, stated that the mine is not operating and that its purpose "... is to build a lasting and positive relationship with all stakeholders in the region and establish a reputation as an honest and credible partner with our communities of interest. At this time, we are focused on building an open and honest dialogue to further understand the expectations and concerns that people have about the project."

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More on this topic

The High Cost of Legal Uncertainty

July 2018

One year after the suspension of operations at the El Escobal mining project in Guatemala, the company is still waiting for a definitive judicial decision from the Constitutional Court.

In May 2018, the Legal, Environmental and Social Action Center of Guatemala (Calas) filed an appeal for legal protection, arguing that the Ministry of Energy and Mines had not carried out the necessary community consultations before authorizing the licenses. 

San Rafael Mine Still in Limbo

February 2018

Industrialists are demanding that the Constitutional Court rule on the request for legal protection that was granted in favor of an environmental group and which is keeping the mine's operations in a state of paralysis.

The project has been paralyzed since an environmental organization filed an request for legal protection against the mine, arguing that the Ministry of Energy and Mines did not carry out the necessary community consultations before authorizing the licenses. 

Situation Worsens at San Rafael Mine

January 2018

After seven months of suspended operations, the company that operates the Escobal mine in Guatemala has announced that it is making 250 workers redundant.

The company interrupted its activities after the Supreme Court of Justice granted an injunction to the Legal, Environmental and Social Action Center (Calas), in July 2017, after denouncing that the Ministry of Energy and Mines had not carried out prior community consultations..

Another Mining Company Suspended in Guatemala

July 2017

Minera San Rafael will have to cease operations after its two operating licenses were suspended as a result of a writ of protection granted by the Supreme Court of Justice to an environmental group.

Prensalibre.com reports that "... The licenses for El Escobal, approved in 2013, and Juan Bosco, in 2012, are suspended and as a consequence, the San Rafael mine must stop its operations. The extraction plants whose licenses are now invalid are located in Mataquescuintla, Jalapa, and Nueva Santa Rosa, Casillas, and San Rafael Las Flores, Santa Rosa."

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