A new report exposes omissions and misrepresentations in a Nevada-based mining company’s more than $400 million suit against the Guatemalan government. Released today, Mining Injustice Through International Arbitration: Countering Kappes, Cassiday & Associates’ Claims over a Gold-mining Project in Guatemala, examines Kappes, Cassiday & Associates (KCA) attempt to strong-arm the Guatemalan government through international arbitration into green-lighting the unwanted El Tambor gold mine — or compensating the mining firm for hundreds of millions of dollars in future profits it had little hope of ever earning.
As the report illustrates, KCA enjoyed immense privileges in Guatemala. The company managed to obtain its operating license despite a mining moratorium and a woefully incomplete environmental impact assessment. It built its mine without a construction license and through violent repression of local communities by private security and state-armed forces under a corrupt government. Unwavering community opposition and legal actions halted the project in 2016. With the company’s leadership under criminal investigation and its mine suspended, KCA turned to Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) under the terms of the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) with the US.
KCA’s lawsuit is emblematic of the disturbing trend of mining companies using ISDS to sue governments when their investments face opposition from local communities. Arbitration suits like this are made possible by International Investment Agreements, and are disproportionately brought against governments in the Global South, especially Latin America. The report’s examination of KCA’s lawsuit exposes a supranational arbitration system that ignores or even awards corporate abuses by enabling private companies to sue national governments over matters of public interest, such as the devastating social and environmental impacts of mining.
The report is authored by Luis Solano, Ellen Moore, and Jen Moore and is published by Earthworks and the Institute of Policy Studies.
You can access the site and report, here, and there is also a Spanish version available.
Categories: Criminalisation, Culture, Environment, Evictions, Gender, Guatemala, Human Rights, Indigenous peoples, Justice, Land, Legal, Lobbying, Mining, Poverty, Report, Resource Extraction, Solidarity in Action, Violence