Guatemalan communities form the area of Santa Cruz del Quiche unanimously vote against resource extraction on their lands. | Photo: Courtesy James Rodriguez, MiMundo.org
Communities in Guatemala have repeatedly voiced their opposition to a Tahoe Resources silver mine. The company chose to ignore it … and worse, reports Telesur.
Canadian mining giant Tahoe Resources came under fresh fire Thursday for bulldozing human rights in Guatemala as two organizations filed a complaint in the United States calling for a probe into whether Tahoe executives lied to investors.
The California-based Network in Solidarity with Guatemala (NISGUA) and the Guatemalan Diocesan Committee in Defense of Nature (CODIDENA) represented by the Canada-based Justice and Corporate Accountability Project, submitted a 36-page report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the federal agency that oversees financial securities laws. The report details why Tahoe should face careful scrutiny and be held liable under U.S. law for failing to disclose to investors key details about local community opposition and human rights concerns swirling around the contentious Escobal silver mine.
The organizations call for the SEC to consider whether Tahoe omitted facts necessary for investors to assess the risk of the Escobal mine, including secret local legal action to suppress opposition to the mine, and failed to disclose information about human rights concerns. Depending on what the agency decides, Tahoe could face forced disclosure or personal liability for executives over the company’s negligence with reporting key facts.
Tahoe Resources, incorporated in the Canadian province of British Columbia and headquartered in Nevada, has repeatedly faced criticism over its abysmal human rights record and contempt for community opposition in its operations at the Escobal mine through its wholly-owned Guatemalan subsidiary Minera San Rafael. The mine has faced considerable resistance, including sanctioned referendums in seven surrounding municipalities in the last five years, in which communities voted between 95 and over 99 percent against mining activities. In the Quesada community, for example, facing a concession by Canadian mining giant Goldcorp among other projects, 8,027 community members voted against allowing mining and just eight people voted in favor.
Canadian mining corporations in general have a notorious record in Latin America and Africa, and local plaintiffs impacted by environmental destruction and grave human rights abuses by multinationals companies in countries like Guatemala are increasingly seeking recourse in international courts.