Smear Campaign Launched Against Opponents to Tahoe Resources’ Escobal Project, After Mine Licenses Suspended

By Jen Moore | Mining Watch Canada | July 19, 2017


Following the suspension of two of Tahoe Resources’ mine licences in Guatemala on July 5, Tahoe Resources’ suppliers, workers and the Guatemalan Industrial Association have engaged in a smear campaign in the Guatemalan press against the Centre for Environmental, Social and Legal Action (CALAS) and its members for having brought the claim against the Ministry of Energy and Mines that led to the decision. The defamation puts CALAS and its members at risk of further violence.

On Wednesday July 5, the Guatemalan Supreme Court of Justice announced that it was temporarily suspending two of Tahoe Resources’ mining licences until a suit against the Ministry of Energy and Mines is resolved for discrimination and lack of prior consultation with Indigenous Xinka communities in the area of the company’s Escobal silver mine. Tahoe has consistently denied the presence of Xinka communities in the immediate area of influence of the Escobal project and failed to report on the strength of opposition of both the Xinka and non-indigenous communities affected by its mining operations.

During a Tahoe conference call on Thursday July 6, one investor analyst asked the company if it, its employees, its supplies or anyone connected to the company might have status in Guatemala to bring a lawsuit against CALAS, its members or any members of the Xinka community. In response, President and CEO Ron Clayton stated that its suppliers were already preparing to bring a lawsuit to try to appeal the decision and that: “Our suppliers, vendors, contractors and employees are all aggressively involved in fighting this.” As announced in the conference call, on Monday July 9, representatives of suppliers presented a legal action to try to revoke the mine suspension.

The Guatemalan Industrial Association (CACIF) has since published a full page ad in national press accusing CALAS of fomenting conflict in the communities around the Escobal project and of not being representative of the Xinka Indigenous people. Suppliers and workers also spoke to the press, accusing CALAS members of violating their rights and spreading lies in the communities. Notably, CALAS has been the subject of regular attacks for its work in defence of collective rights and the environment, including the murder of 22 year-old Jeremy Abraham Barrios Lima, assistant to the Director of CALAS in November 2016, and a 2008 armed attack against Director Yuri Melini.

To read the full article, click here.

Tahoe Licenses Suspended for Lack of Consultation with Indigenous Communities, While Company Denies Indigenous Presence and Opposition

July 7, 2017

(Oakland/Reno/Ottawa/Tatamagouche/Toronto) On Wednesday July 5, the Guatemalan Supreme Court of Justice announced that it was temporarily suspending two of Tahoe Resources’ mining licences until a suit against the Ministry of Energy and Mines is resolved for discrimination and lack of prior consultation with Indigenous Xinka communities in the area of the company’s Escobal silver mine. Tahoe has consistently denied the presence of Xinka communities in the area of influence of the Escobal project and failed to report on the strength of opposition of both the Xinka and non-indigenous communities affected by its mining operations.

“The Xinka People have historically been made invisible by the Guatemalan State. Today, we are not surprised that a foreign company like Tahoe is using the same discriminatory mechanisms to negate our existence in the area to protect its investment. This is history repeating itself with the same goal as always: to displace our communities. Who are they to decide who I am and violate my right to self-determination? That is my right,” remarked Moisés Divas, Xinka community member and Coordinator of the Diocesan Committee in Defense of Nature (CODIDENA).

The two suspended licences include the Escobal licence where the large underground silver mine was built and operates in the municipality of San Rafael Las Flores. The second is the Juan Bosco exploration licence in the municipalities of San Rafael Las Flores, Mataquescuintla, Nueva Santa Rosa, and Casillas. The latter three municipalities all held plebiscites prior to the granting of the exploitation permit for Escobal in which tens of thousands of people voted against any mining in their area. To date, opposition in Mataquescuintla has prevented the company from connecting its mine to the national energy grid.

Despite its denial of there being any Xinka people in the immediate area of its mine, Tahoe has stated in its response to the suspension that it believes the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) has already carried out a consultation process consistent with Indigenous rights.

In a communiqué dated July 6th, MEM argued that it has fulfilled all obligations under Guatemalan law through “dialogue with communities in the area of influence of the mine” and “establishing peaceful relations between communities and the mine since 2012.” It went on to state that the company’s Environmental Impact Study approved by the Ministry of the Environment in 2011 determined there was no Indigenous population in the region.

“The organized opposition to Tahoe’s project shows that whatever so-called consultation process the company and MEM may have carried out, they failed to obtain community consent. Tahoe has been telling shareholders for years that its social problems are taken care of, while treating people who are fighting for a healthy environment with open disdain. Clearly, given the month-long protest in Casillas, and the multiple ongoing legal cases in national and international courts, it hasn’t gotten everything resolved,” commented Becky Kaump for the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA).

The Xinka Parliament and Xinka community members have consistently participated in community events and peaceful protests in opposition to the presence of mining in the region. As a result, like many others in the area, they have suffered violence and repression. In March 2013, four Indigenous Xinka leaders, including the then president of the Xinka Parliament, Roberto Gonzales, were abducted while returning from observing a community plebiscite in El Volcancito, in the municipality of San Rafael Las Flores. One of those abducted, Exaltación Marcos Ucelo, was found dead the next day. The United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights has cited this as a killing of a human rights activist.

The Norwegian Council on Ethics, which investigated Tahoe’s human rights problems in 2014, noted that the Xinka and the Xinka Parliament “oppose the mining operation and demand that they be consulted before licenses are granted in the areas in which they live.” As a result of its investigation, the Council advised against any further investment in Tahoe Resources given the high risk of further human rights violations.

“With the support of Guatemalan national authorities, Tahoe has been wishing away the presence of Indigenous people around the Escobal mine since 2010 when founder and then CEO, Kevin McArthur, told participants at the Denver Gold Conference that the Escobal project would not face opposition because there were no ‘indigenous issues’. McArthur was just plain wrong about the absence of Xinka people or lack of resistance. Now the company and its shareholders are suffering the consequences,” commented Jen Moore for MiningWatch Canada.

On Thursday, Tahoe Resources lost a third of its value on the stock market. At least two law firms have also announced investigationsregarding claims that Tahoe violated sections of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act.

Concerned about the prevalence of criminalization, militarization and violence that opponents to the Escobal mine have experienced in recent years, national human rights organizations in Guatemala have publicly expressed support for communities and the Centre for Environmental, Social and Legal Action (CALAS) that brought the suit, calling on the Ministry of Energy and Mines to uphold the sentence and refrain from using violence against peaceful protestors. International organizations are also urging the company and Guatemalan authorities to ensure that area residents and accompanying organizations do not face legal persecution, repression or violence for defending their Indigenous and human rights as a result of this suit and other recent protests, including a month-long demonstration in Casillas that prevented mine-related traffic from reaching the site.

Contacts:

  • Lisa Rankin, Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network, (902) 615-0704, btscoordinator(at)gmail.com
  • Caren Weisbart, Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, caren.weisbart(at)gmail.com
  • Jen Moore, MiningWatch Canada, jen(at)miningwatch.ca, +613 722 0412
  • Becky Kaump, Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala, becky(at)nisgua.org +502 5575 2058
  • Bob Fulkerson, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), bfulkerson(at)planevada.org, (775) 348-7557

Police Use Violence Against Community Members During a Peaceful Demonstration Against Tahoe Resources’ Escobal Mine

By NISGUA | June 23, 2017


Since June 7, communities have maintained a 24-hour encampment along the highway in the municipality of Casillas, 15 kilometers from the Escobal mine of U.S.-Canadian company Tahoe Resources. Blocking only mine-related traffic, they are denouncing the negative impacts they experience on a daily basis since Tahoe Resources came to the region. In prior statements published by the resistance movement, they denounce constant tremors stemming from mining activities, continuous heavy-equipment traffic, and increasing environmental impacts of the Escobal project, including the drying up of water sources.

Yesterday afternoon, police used tear gas in an attempt to violently evict them. While community members were forced to scatter, they regrouped yesterday evening in the thousands to continue their peaceful demonstration in the same location. Read below for a detailed account on yesterday’s police violence.

The following account of police violence was written by Nelton Rivera for Prensa Comunitaria. For the full article in Spanish, click here. Translation and editing done by NISGUA.

“This afternoon [June 22] at 1PM, riot police arrived at the demonstration. Without any cause, they began throwing tear gas canisters at community members.

Since June 6th, residents of Casillas have successfully detained mining operations. According to one of the residents who demanded that the company withdraw from the area due to the damages it was causing, the strong tremors they feel as a result of mining operations ceased once they began their demonstration.

At the scene were children, elderly people, and one person in a wheelchair. The presence of the police coincided with the company’s attempt to move one of its trucks through the blockade. According to a witness, “The children began to sing the national anthem at the same time as one of the members of the national civil police began to gather rocks to throw.’

The police began to throw tear gas in all directions – against the population, towards the houses, and even on top of a health center that specializes in providing healthcare to children.

After being dispersed by the police, people scattered to protect themselves. The riot police entered into the center of Casillas and continued throwing tear gas canisters. Residents who were in their homes and schools were affected by the gas; ambulances attended to the people.

Moisés Divas, a representative of the Xinca Parliament, denounced that the arrival of the police without any motive. The police did not present an eviction notice, nor were they accompanied by a Justice of the People. Human Rights representatives were not present, either, when the police began to throw tear gas and evict community members.”

To read the full article, click here. 

Lawsuit against Tahoe Resources cleared for trial in Canada, ‘Tip of the Iceberg’ with regard to risks

June 12, 2017

(Ottawa/Oakland/Tatamagouche/Toronto/Washington D.C.) An investor alert released today warns that historic developments in the lawsuit against Tahoe Resources in Canada is just one indicator of serious risks surrounding its Escobal silver mine in Guatemala. On Thursday, June 8th, the Supreme Court of Canada denied Tahoe Resources leave to appeal, clearing the way for a civil lawsuit against the company to move to trial in British Columbia over violence at its project in Guatemala.

The investor alert was released by environmental and social justice organizations with longstanding relationships in Guatemala and outlines that the violent event for which Tahoe is being sued in British Columbia is only one of numerous unresolved human rights incidents that have plagued the project. Corruption allegations lodged against the Guatemalan authorities who granted permits for the mine, further places in question the company’s controversial flagship project. The high risk of ongoing human rights harms from this project, which has given rise to broad community opposition, has already affected investor confidence and should lead others to divest, concludes the alert.

“Throughout the lead up to commercial operations at the Escobal mine, a campaign of violence, criminalization and militarization was used by the company and the Guatemalan authorities to suppress widespread community opposition to this project. We are pleased that the lawsuit is heading to trial in Canada and hope that it will make investors think twice about continued association with Tahoe Resources,” remarks Lisa Rankin from the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network.

Between 2011 and 2013, some 100 people were legally persecuted for having organized community plebiscites over mining or participated in peaceful protests. In 2013, efforts to suppress opposition to the project included a government-imposed state of siege and an attack led by company security guards on peaceful protesters outside the mine site. Seven men were wounded when they were shot at close range as they ran away from the company’s security guards. Tahoe Resources is being accused of negligence and battery in this incident, which is the focus of the civil lawsuit now proceeding in British Columbia courts.

“The same Guatemalan officials who worked with Tahoe to suppress dissent against the Escobal project and who approved the company’s final permits are now in jail or wanted for their involvement in corruption scandals that toppled the previous government administration. The legitimacy and legality of the Escobal project is dubious at best,” commented Becky Kaump from the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala.

In early April 2013, the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) granted the company’s exploitation license, dismissing without consideration over 200 individual complaints from community members on the basis of environmental concerns. The lack of due process in this decision is subject to an ongoing battle in Guatemalan courts and persistent tension in local communities. Damage to homes from tremors believed to be caused by mine activities, as well as loss of water sources since mine operations began, have sparked protests, increasing discontent among residents.

“Billion-dollar pension funds in Europe have already divested from the company given the tremendous human rights harms and ongoing financial risks posed by the persistent local opposition to this project. It is time that other shareholders divest from Tahoe and respect the tens of thousands of community members who have – in the face of great danger – voiced their dissent to this to this project given their fears for their water, farms and peace in their communities,” concluded Jen Moore for MiningWatch Canada.

The Investor Alert can be accessed here. A complaint to the British Columbia Securities Commission over the company’s lack of transparency concerning these risks is available here.

Contacts: 

  • Lisa Rankin, Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network, (902) 615-0704, btscoordinator(at)gmail.com
  • Caren Weisbart, Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, weisbart(at)gmail.com
  • Becky Kaump, Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA), +011 (502) 5575-2058, becky(at)nisgua.org
  • Jen Moore, MiningWatch Canada, 613-569-3439, jen(at)miningwatch.ca
  • Kelsey Alford Jones, Center for International Environmental Law, (202) 742-5854, kalford(at)ciel.org

Demanda contra Tahoe Resources en Canadá obtiene visto bueno para ir a juicio, se considera la punta del iceberg con respecto a riesgos

12 de junio de 2017

(Ottawa/Oakland/Tatamagouche/Toronto/Washington D.C.) El lunes se emitió una alerta para inversionistas advirtiendo que los históricos desarrollos con respecto a la demanda contra Tahoe Resources en Canadá es tan sólo uno de los indicadores de serios riesgos en relación a su mina argentífera Escobal en Guatemala. El jueves 8 de junio, el Tribunal Supremo de Canadá rechazó la apelación de Tahoe Resources, despejando así el camino para que una demanda civil contra la empresa avance a la etapa de juicio en la provincia de Columbia Británica por violencia en torno a su proyecto de Guatemala.

El alerta para inversionistas lo emitieron organizaciones ambientalistas y de justicia social con fuertes vínculos en Guatemala, e indica que el caso de violencia por el que se le hace juicio a Tahoe en Columbia Británica es sólo uno de los muchos incidentes de derechos humanos que aún no han sido resueltos en relación al proyecto. A su vez, existen alegaciones de corrupción en cuanto a las autoridades guatemaltecas que otorgaron los permisos para la mina, lo que brinda más razones para poner en tela de juicio el controvertido proyecto principal de la empresa. El alto riesgo que implican los continuos abusos a los derechos humanos que surgen de este proyecto, el cual ha suscitado una amplia oposición comunitaria, ya ha afectado la confianza de los inversores y debería motivar la desinversión de otros, concluye el alerta.

“Durante la etapa previa a la explotación comercial de la mina Escobal, la empresa y las autoridades guatemaltecas utilizaron una campaña de violencia, criminalización y militarización para suprimir la amplia oposición de las comunidades en relación al proyecto. Nos alegra que la demanda proceda a la etapa de juicio en Canadá y esperamos que los inversionistas reconsideren mantener su interés en la empresa”, observa Lisa Rankin de la Red Rompiendo el Silencio de las Provincias Marítimas y Guatemala.

Entre el 2011 y el 2013, alrededor de 100 personas sufrieron persecución jurídica por haber organizado consultas comunitarias sobre la minería o haber participado en protestas pacíficas. En el 2013, con objeto de suprimir la oposición, el gobierno decretó estado de sitio y los guardias de seguridad de la empresa atacaron a manifestantes pacíficos enfrente de la mina. Siete hombres sufrieron heridas de armas de fuego al huir de los guardias de seguridad de la empresa. Pesan sobre Tahoe Resources acusaciones de negligencia y agresión física por este incidente, y es esa la base de la demanda civil que se presentó ante los tribunales de Columbia Británica.

“Las mismas autoridades guatemaltecas que obraron junto a Tahoe para suprimir la oposición al proyecto Escobal y que aprobaron las licencias finales de la empresa hoy día se encuentran en la cárcel o se las busca por su participación en escándalos de corrupción que derrocaron al último gobierno. La legitimidad y legalidad del proyecto Escobal es dudosa en el mejor de los casos”, comentó Becky Kaump de la Red en Solidaridad con el Pueblo de Guatemala.

A principios de abril del 2013, el Ministerio de Energía y Minas (MEM) le otorgó a la empresa la licencia de explotación, haciendo caso omiso a los más de 200 recursos de oposición interpuestos por miembros de las comunidades por los posibles impactos ambientales de la mina. La falta de debido proceso en esta decisión es el objeto de una batalla que se mantiene vigente en los tribunales guatemaltecos, y ha resultado en tensiones continuas en las comunidades locales. Los daños a casas por temblores que se cree son producto de actividades mineras, además de la pérdida de fuentes de agua desde el inicio de las operaciones de la mina, han generado protestas y un creciente  descontento en la población.

“En Europa fondos de pensiones multimillonarios ya han vendido su participación en la empresa debido a los tremendos abusos a los derechos humanos y los constantes riesgos financieros que el proyecto impone. Es hora de que otros inversionistas vendan su participación en Tahoe y respeten a las decenas de miles de miembros de comunidades que se han expuesto a notables riesgos para expresar su oposición a este proyecto debido a temores por el agua, por sus tierras, y por la paz en sus comunidades”, concluyó Jen Moore de Alerta Minera Canadá.

El Alerta para Inversionistas se encuentra disponible aquí (inglés). Un informe sobre la falta de transparencia de la empresa en relación a estos riesgos, que se presentó a la Comisión de Valores de Columbia Británica, se encuentra disponible aquí (inglés).

Contactos:
Lisa Rankin, Red Rompiendo el Silencio de las Provincias Marítimas y Guatemala, (902) 615-0704, btscoordinator(arroba)gmail.com

Caren Weisbart, Red de Solidaridad contra la Injusticia Minera, weisbart(arroba)gmail.com (647) 466-6643

Becky Kaump, Red en Solidaridad con el Pueblo de Guatemala (NISGUA), +011 (502) 5575-2058, becky(arroba)nisgua.org

Jen Moore, Alerta Minera Canadá, 613-569-3439, jen(arroba)miningwatch.ca

Kelsey Alford Jones, Center for International Environmental Law, (202) 742-5854, kalford(arroba)ciel.org

 

Communities Maintain Peaceful Demonstration in Protest of Negative Impacts of Tahoe Resources’ Mine in Guatemala

by NISGUA June 15, 2017


Since June 7, 2017, communities surrounding Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine in southeastern Guatemala have maintained a 24-hour peaceful protest of mine-related traffic. They are denouncing the constant tremors they believe are the result of mining activities, the constant heavy truck traffic, and the increasing environmental impacts of the project, including the drying up of water sources.

Communities immediately surrounding the Escobal mine and others as far as the municipality of Casillas, have consistently denounced tremors, which have increased in frequency over the past number of months. The company regularly carries out underground mine blasting, which has caused damage to houses in some communities. On multiple occasions, communities in Casillas and local authorities have called on CONRED, the National Coordinating Body for the Reduction of Disasters, to visit the area and install a seismograph to measure the tremors and determine their cause. However, local confidence in CONRED’s willingness to carry out unbiased monitoring is waning as “official” results do not match what families are experiencing on a daily basis.

The blockade is located at the entranceway of Casillas, 15 kilometers down the road from Escobal, and has prevented mine-related vehicles from accessing the mine in the municipality of San Rafael las Flores. Tahoe’s subsidiary Minera San Rafael (MSR) relies on diesel-powered generators to provide the vast amount of electricity required for mining operations given that the company was denied access to the local power grid located in the neighboring municipality of Mataquescuintla. In 2012, residents from Mataquescuintla overwhelming rejected the presence of the mine and other resource extraction activities in the area and as a result, MSR was denied this critical resource.

Now, Mataquescuintla joins municipal authorities and community members in Casillas, Nueva Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa de Lima, and San Carlos Alzatate in publicly and peacefully denouncing Tahoe’s project. These same municipalities have also united to form a regional alliance (“mancomunidad”) in order to protect the river basin in the region and uphold the results of the referenda on mining. Individual communities in San Rafael las Flores, where the mine is located, have also joined the current protest, although the municipal authorities have not.

In a press conference on behalf of the regional alliance given at the resistance camp on June 11, Mataquescuintla’s Mayor Hugo Loy said, “If the seismic activity that is taking place in our subsoil is a result of mining operations, then we call on national and international bodies to intervene. Human rights and the right to life must be placed ahead of the right to material things…There are testimonies from people in Casillas and San Rafael las Flores that they feel tremors and that there has been structural damage to their homes. Mataquescuintla is no exception. Between five and six in the morning, we feel tremors as well.”

Tahoe lacks social license to operate in Santa Rosa and Jalapa; legal right to operate in question

Despite Tahoe Resources’ claim that they enjoy broad support, the results of 16 referenda in the area show otherwise. While a pro-mining mayor in San Rafael las Flores prevented a municipal-wide referendum, every other municipality in the surrounding area – and many communities within the borders of San Rafael las Flores – have held referenda in which they rejected the presence of the mine. In addition to concerns about social discord, constant tremors, and the structural damage that mining blasts are having on people’s homes in the area, communities in resistance cite major environmental concerns as one of the many reasons for their opposition. The Escobal mine is located in a large agricultural-producing area and communities are reporting that the massive amount of water to sustain mining operations is already being felt in the region.

Other attempts to halt the Escobal mine have been unsuccessful. A 2015 decision by Guatemala’s Constitutional Court effectively suspended Tahoe’s exploitation license, yet operations continue. The decision by the country’s highest court ruled that the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) bypassed due process when it dismissed, without consideration, the more than 200 complaints filed by individuals who stood to be impacted by Tahoe’s mine. According to Guatemalan law, a company cannot be granted an exploitation license as long as complaints are outstanding. Instead of halting operations to allow MEM to adequately address the environmental concerns, Tahoe plowed ahead, celebrating record profits as communities suffer the very same consequences they attempted to address before Tahoe began operations.

And it’s not only the environmental impacts that communities are feeling. Individuals and entire communities who have opposed the project to defend their water, land, and livelihoods, have suffered militarization, violence, and criminalization. Last November, when community members from La Cuchilla were protesting the cracks in their houses as a result of mining operations, the General Director of Minera San Rafael wrote a letter to the Ministry of Defense, appealing for government support in keeping the peace. This wasn’t the first time that Tahoe has called for an increased military and police presence in the region. In 2013, the Guatemalan government responded by enacting a state of siege, suspending several civil liberties, and carrying out a sweep of criminalization of movement leaders.

Multiple billion-dollar pension funds in Europe have already divested from the company given concerns about violence and human rights violations in relation to the project. In its 2014 Annual Report, the Council of Ethics for the Norwegian Pension Board recommended the exclusion of Tahoe Resources from their investments, stating the company ran an “unacceptable” risk of human rights violations at the Escobal mine and that acts of violence had resulted from the company’s presence in the region. Tahoe is also excluded from the Dutch pension fund Pensionenfonds (PGB). In 2016, this fund cited “human rights abuses in Guatemala” as cause for the exclusion. The fifth edition of Dirty Profits by the German organization Facing Finance listed Tahoe Resources as one of fourteen companies considered a dangerous investment. The article highlights the lack of respect for communities, violence and militarization. 

NISGUA has provided accompaniment and advocacy support to the communities impacted by Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine since 2011. 

For the original article, click here.

Minería para buenas relaciones publicas: Algunos datos sobre la ficción creada por la convención minera más grande del mundo

Por MERLE DAVIS, KATE KLEIN y CAREN WEISBART (publicado por primera vez en Now Magazine Toronto, Canadá – Traducción por Lexicon Interpreters Inc.)

Se la ha llamado el Superbowl o los Oscar de la industria de extracción de recursos. Y entre los talleres, las representaciones culturales, las ceremonias anuales de premios, las visitas del primer ministro y la feria – ¡La convención de 2016 hasta ofrecía una estación lustrado de zapatos! – parece un lugar fascinante.

La convención de la Asociación de Prospectores y Desarrolladores de Canadá (PDAC), la conferencia minera y la feria de la industria mineral más grande del mundo, ocurre cada año en Toronto. El 85o evento anual de este año se llevará a cabo del 5 al 8 de marzo en el Centro de Convenciones del Toronto Metropolitano (Metro Toronto Convention Centre), donde asistirán unas 25.000 personas de más de 125 países.

Los promotores dicen que la convención genera unos 60 millones de dólares anuales en la economía de Toronto. El Turismo de Toronto (Tourism Toronto) es un patrocinador de “Oro” (“Gold Plus”), junto con CIBC. Los patrocinadores de “Platino” (“Platinum”), Barrick Gold y Goldcorp, dos de los actores más importantes de la industria, también comparten una mala reputación por violaciones de derechos humanos y daños ambientales en el exterior.

Pero el mundo en gran parte fantástico de la convención de PDAC existe lejos de la realidad de las comunidades que llevan el peso de estos “éxitos” mineros.

Haz clic aquí para leer el articulo completo.

Canadian mining convention ignores harsh reality of deadly industry

by , ,  | NOW Magazine | March 1, 2017

Canadian mining kills, but at the planet’s largest mining conference in Toronto this weekend, the industry will spin fantastical tales for investors that ignore the suffering of the communities bearing the brunt of its “successes.”

It’s been called the Superbowl or the Oscars of the resource extraction industry. And between workshops, cultural performances, the annual awards ceremonies, prime ministerial visits and the trade show – 2016’s convention even had a shoe-shining station! – it seems like an exciting place to be.

The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada’s (PDAC) convention, the largest mining and mineral industry conference and trade show in the world, happens every year in Toronto. This year’s 85th annual event takes place March 5 to 8 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, with some 25,000 people from more than 125 countries attending.

Promoters say the convention injects about $60 million annually into the Toronto economy. Tourism Toronto is a “Gold Plus” sponsor, alongside CIBC. “Platinum” sponsors Barrick Gold and Goldcorp, two of the industry’s biggest players, also happen to share a bad reputation for human rights violations and environmental damage abroad.

But the largely fantastical world of the PDAC convention exists far away from the reality of the communities bearing the brunt of these mining “successes.”

For the full article, click here.

Informe Europeo tacha a Tahoe Resources de “inversión nociva”, revela desinversión de fondos multimillonarios

Logos

 

9 de febrero de 2017

(Ottawa/Reno/Guatemala) Tahoe Resources es una de las catorce empresas que figuran destacadas por ser una inversión peligrosa, en la quinta edición de “Dirty Profits” de la organización Facing Finance que se presentó el día de hoy en la ciudad de Hamburgo, Alemania.

La publicación indica que dos fondos de pensiones multimillonarios europeos han vendido su participación en la empresa, el Pensioenfonds (PGB) de Holanda y el Norges Bank Investment Management de Noruega. El grupo insta a que se impongan normas vinculantes a las instituciones financieras y a que se elimine de sus carteras esta y otras inversiones nocivas.

Entre los problemas que cita figuran la falta de respeto de Tahoe Resources hacia las comunidades que han manifestado de manera pacífica y democrática su oposición a la mina Escobal en el suroriente de Guatemala, y una campaña de persecución por medio de demandas infundadas, incidentes violentos y militarización.

“El estado de Guatemala junto con la empresa minera se prestan para criminalizar a quienes luchamos para defender nuestro territorio, sobre todo a los que defendemos el medioambiente y los derechos humanos. Pero el estado es corrupto, por dinero se vende y criminaliza a la gente, acusando de grandes delitos, para que uno se quede callado. Pero, al contrario, nosotros somos personas campesinas trabajadores y en vez de que nos callen la boca, más con ganas  seguimos luchando porque es algo para nuestros hijos”, Oswaldo Anavisca Morales, miembro de la Sociedad Civil de Mataquescuintla en el departamento de Jalapa.

El artículo sobre Tahoe Resources detalla también que se le otorgó a la empresa un permiso de operaciones sin tomar en cuenta los más de 200 recursos que se habían interpuesto en contra de la licencia debido a preocupaciones por el ambiente. Los funcionarios que tomaron esta decisión renunciaron a mediados del 2015 ante serias denuncias de corrupción.

“Lo que nos duele efectivamente es como los Ministerios y las cortes defienden a estas empresas, como el Ministerio de Energía y Minas. […] No sé por qué estos grandes inversionistas y las autoridades no abren los ojos, y ven que [la empresa] no nos respeta como guatemaltecos, o seres humanos”, Julio Osorio, coordinador de la Comisión Diocesana de Defensa de la Naturaleza (CODIDENA) del municipio de Nueva Santa Rosa, departamento de Santa Rosa.

La pérdida del suministro de agua, la contaminación, al igual que las divisiones y conflictos sociales son tan sólo algunos de los impactos que le preocupan a otro miembro de CODIDENA.

“A los inversionistas, les hacemos un llamado, que se pongan la mano en el corazón, que tengan conciencia, y que no inviertan su dinero en proyectos que ocasionan la muerte. Queremos proyectos de vida, que generen trabajo para nuestros jóvenes, para las mujeres y nuestros esposos, pero más para la juventud”, observó Paty Gregorio de Arriaga del municipio de Nueva Santa Rosa.

Tahoe Resources y el estado han impuesto el proyecto Escobal, al igual que otras concesiones en la región, a pesar de las 18 consultas municipales y comunitarias que organizaron CODIDENA y otros grupos locales, en las que más de 55,000 personas en siete municipios votaron en contra de la minería, desde el 2011.

En un reciente fallo que sienta precedentes sobre una demanda por violencia en la mina Escobal, el Tribunal de Apelaciones de Columbia Británica reconoció la desigualdad de condiciones que favorece a las empresas en Guatemala.

El fallo se dictó en enero del año en curso e indica que: “existe un cierto riesgo cuantificable de que les será difícil a los apelantes recibir un juicio justo contra una poderosa multinacional cuyos intereses en Guatemala se alinean con los intereses políticos del estado guatemalteco. Este factor distancia a Guatemala de ser el foro más adecuado”.

El Fondo de Pensiones Canadiense, que en el 2014 invertía $49 millones en acciones de Tahoe Resources, ya no registra acciones de la empresa. Por su parte, una empresa estadounidense para el manejo de inversiones, TIAA-CREF, recientemente aumentó su interés en Tahoe Resources, ahora con acciones valoradas en más de US$12 millones de dólares.

El informe en inglés “Dirty Profits 5” de Facing Finance se encuentra aquí.
El comunicado en versión PDF se enlace aquí.

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European Report Features Tahoe Resources as a ‘Harmful Investment’, Reveals Billion Dollar Funds Have Divested

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February 9, 2017

(Ottawa/Reno/Guatemala) Tahoe Resources is one of fourteen companies featured as a dangerous investment in the fifth edition of ‘Dirty Profits’ launched today in Hamburg, Germany and edited by the organization Facing Finance.

The publication identifies two billion-dollar European pension funds that have divested from the company, the Netherlands’ Pensioenfonds (PGB) and Norway’s Norges Bank Investment Management. The group calls for binding regulations on financial institutions and for the elimination of this and other harmful investments from their portfolios.

Problems cited include Tahoe Resources’ lack of respect for communities that have peacefully and democratically expressed their opposition to its Escobal mine in southeastern Guatemala, and a campaign of persecution through unfounded legal cases, violent incidents and militarization.

“The Guatemalan state together with the company criminalize us for defending our territory, especially those who defend the environment and human rights. But the state is corrupt, it sells out for money and criminalizes people, accusing them of serious crimes, so they remain silent. But, we are hard-working farmers and instead of being silenced, we continue our struggle even more earnestly than before because this is for our children,” Oswaldo Anavisca Morales, member of the Mataquescuintla Civil Society Group in the department of Jalapa.

The article about Tahoe Resources further describes how the company was granted a permit to put the mine into operation with disregard for over 200 individual complaints submitted against the license on the basis of environmental concerns. The officials responsible for this decision resigned in mid-2015 over serious allegations of corruption.

“What really hurts is how the [state] defends these companies, like the Ministry of Energy and Mines. […] I don’t know why large investors and authorities don’t open their eyes to see how [the company] doesn’t respect us as Guatemalans, or as human beings,” Julio Osorio, Coordinator of the Diocese Council for the Defense of Nature (CODIDENA) for the municipality of Nueva Santa Rosa in the department of Santa Rosa.

Loss of water supplies, contamination, as well as social divisions and conflicts are just some of the impacts that concern another member of CODIDENA. “We call on investors to put their hands on their hearts, to become aware, and to not invest their money in projects which cause death. We want life giving projects that generate work for our women and men, and especially for our youth,” remarked Paty Gregorio De Arriaga from the municipality of Nueva Santa Rosa.

Tahoe Resources and the state have imposed the Escobal project, and other concessions in the region, despite 18 municipal and village level referenda, organized by CODIDENA and other local groups, in which more than 55,000 people in seven municipalities voted against mining, since 2011.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal recently acknowledged the power imbalance that works to favour corporations in Guatemala in a precedent-setting decision over a suit brought for violence at the Escobal mine.

The January 2017 decision stated: “there is some measurable risk that the appellants will encounter difficulty in receiving a fair trial against a powerful international company whose mining interests in Guatemala align with the political interests of the Guatemalan state. This factor points away from Guatemala as the more appropriate forum.”

The Canadian Pension Plan which held $49 million of shares in Tahoe Resources in 2014, no longer lists any share holdings in the company. The U.S. investment management firm, TIAA-CREF, on the other hand, recently increased its holdings in Tahoe Resources, now worth more than US$12 million dollars.

Find the Facing Finance “Dirty Profits 5” publication online here.
Find the PDF press release here.

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