Process to Resume Mining Operation Begins

Following the order to hold community consultations as a requirement for resuming operations at the San Rafael Mine in Guatemala, the authorities are waiting for the ruling to be be made firm in order to start a pre-consultation process.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

After more than 300 days of waiting for a decision from the authorities, as a result of an appeal for legal protection filed by the environmental organization Calas, the Constitutional Court (CC) last week ordered a community consultation to be carried out, through the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM), into the operations area of the mine, in El Escobal, in the municipality of San Rafael Las Flores, department of Santa Rosa.

See the Court's full resolution. (In Spanish)

In order for the the MEM to comply with the ruling on this project, which the Constitutional Court issued last week, 10 actors from different sectors of society will have to be called on to set up a pre-consultation table, and this table must have a defined timetable and reach necessary agreements in order to carry out the community consultation. 

In relation to what the authorities are waiting for in order to formally start the process that the CC has ruled, Luis Chang, head of the MEM, told that " ...'We still do not have the final judgment, because there are certain clarifications and extensions that were raised by different entities, and that does not give us the firmness needed in the ruling for us to be able to start the process.'"

Chang added that " ... they still do not have a date to hold the consultation. However, through the pre-consultation table, dialogue will be fostered between the parties, that is, the Xinca people and the San Rafael Minera, to find solutions in this process.

See summary of the history of this case.

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More on this topic

Mine Suspension Confirmed in Guatemala

June 2020

The Constitutional Court decided to keep the "Extracción Minera Fénix" project, located in the department of Izabal, suspended and ordered the community consultation process to be carried out within 18 months.

As a result of a legal appeal filed by a group of residents, who argued that the community consultation process for the operation of the mining project had not been exhausted, in mid-July 2019 the judges of the Constitutional Court (CC) decided to suspend the license for the right to exploit the Fénix mine.

Uncertain Outlook for Mining Project

September 2018

Following the Guatemalan Constitutional Court's order of a community consultation as a requirement to resume operations at the San Rafael Mine, the company is now claiming that the timelines for the process are not clear.

Given the doubts that exist about the term that the government has to complete the process of community consultation, the mining company has decided to make another staff cut, given that it is unknown how long it will be before they can resume mining operations, which were halted on July 3, 2017.

Less Legal Uncertainty, For Now

September 2018

At last the Constitutional Court of Guatemala has spoken about the operation of Minera San Rafael, which has been paralyzed for more than a year, ordering a community consultation as a requirement to resume operations.

The project has been halted since mid-2017, when the environmental organization Calas filed an application for a declaration of fundamental rights against the mine, arguing that the Ministry of Energy and Mines had not carried out the community consultations before authorizing the operation licenses. 

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. 

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