Situation Worsens at San Rafael Mine

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

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

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..

From a statement issued by Minera San Rafael:

Guatemala City, Guatemala January 15, 2018.  After 195 days since the company's operations were temporarily suspended, the company announced today the suspension of 250 employees.  During these months the company has continued to fulfill of all its obligations.

During these more than 7 months of temporary suspension, Minera San Rafael has demonstrated the importance that its collaborators have for the organization and, consequently, the company continued to pay 100% of staff salaries as well as benefits such as payment of Bonus 14 and Aguinaldo.

According to Andrés Dávila, Communications Manager of Minera San Rafael, "having arrived at this situation is regrettable. However, not knowing how much longer this situation may last we have been forced to take this difficult decision.  We are hopeful that we will have a final resolution soon in order to avoid further liquidations due to the company having difficulty maintaining its costs."

Read full release (in Spanish).

More on this topic

Mine in Guatemala: Clear and Objective Consultation

June 2020

After the Constitutional Court decided to keep the "Extracción Minera Fénix" project suspended, the private sector is asking the authorities to start the community consultation process as soon as possible, in an objective and clear way.

The operations of the mine located in the department of Izabal were suspended since July 2019 as a result of a legal appeal filed by a group of neighbors, who argued that the community consultation process for the operation of the mining project had not been exhausted.

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. 

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. 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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