Stop the World While We Study It

In Guatemala academics are trying to halt the mining industry while new rules for the sector are studied, instead of making concrete proposals to correct what needs to be corrected.

Friday, April 8, 2016


An academic consortium is proposing that the State of Guatemala turn its back on an industry that generates employment and income and suspend the granting of mining concessions in the country. Although the Morales administration has already rejected the possibility of a mining moratorium, the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies (Icefi) and the Danish development organization IBIS still insist on calling a halt until a study of the sector is carried out.

Scholars warn that "... Guatemala runs the risk of holders of mining rights not assuming their responsibilities" and are calling for the start of "a process of consultation, dialogue and national consensus" on whether the activity should be kept within the national economic model. However, in February the Deputy Minister of Sustainable Development, Roberto Velasquez, argued that it was more urgent to create jobs and economic development in areas far from the capital.

Why this obsession to stop mining? Why not study - in brief periods - the problems in the sector and propose new rules - if they are necessary- while activities which are beneficial for the country continue ?

See: "Good News for Mining Sector in Guatemala"

From a statement issued by the Central Institute for Fiscal Studies (Icefi):

April 6, 2016 - In consortium, the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies (Icefi) and the Danish development organization IBIS presented the report "Tax implications of mine closures in Guatemala," in which they reminded us that mining projects have a limited life cycle, having different stages and are not reduces merely to the exploitation of minerals.

More on this topic

Panama: Mining Concessions Paralyzed

July 2015

Entrepreneurs in the sector point out that delays in granting licenses for mining constitute a virtual moratorium, preventing investment and encouraging illegal mining.

In the view of representatives of the sector, "... 'The fact that new concessions are not granted, unfortunately, is a de facto moratorium '... " said Zorel Morales, president of the Mining Chamber of Panama (Camipa).

Guatemala: Obstacles to Mining Investment

February 2015

Businessmen are complaining that there are over one hundred applications for licenses which have been approved by the Attorney but are pending review and approval by the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

Mining companies in Guatemala say that one of the reasons for the delays in the process for obtaining mining exploration licenses is because the government does not support this sector of the economy.

Analysis of the mining sector in Guatemala

March 2014

A study reveals the state's inability to meet the demands for services and road infrastructure that arise when a mining project is set up.  

"Mining in Guatemala's economy in 2011 accounted for 2.8% of the production of goods and services nationwide .... By 2012, the total tax contribution of the mining sector was $62,496,766 equivalent to 5.7% of production of mining and quarrying," indicated the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies (ICEFI).

Guatemala Freezes Mining Licenses

July 2009

President Colom reiterated his government compromise of not granting mining permits.

"The Ministry of Energy and mines has orders: not to grant a single concession", until a national consensus is reached, remarked Colom.

From the La Prensa Libre website: "As of now, Congress has a proposal for reforming the mining law.

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