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.

Contacts:

Three steps you can take to halt Tahoe Resources’ expansion in Guatemala!

For the past five years, communities impacted by Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine in southeastern Guatemala have stood up to peacefully defend their lands and livelihoods. The Diocesan Committee in the Defense of Nature (CODIDENA) has led this movement – organizing and carrying out community referenda in which more than 55,000 people in seven municipalities voted against the silver mine. Despite this clear message, Tahoe and the Guatemalan government have pushed the project forward, using violent repression, criminalization and militarization in an attempt silence the resistance.

But the resistance didn’t go away. Today, thousands of brave women and men continue to seek out new, creative and resilient ways to express their opposition to Tahoe’s Escobal project and to halt the company’s plans to develop more mines in the region.

At the end of October, CODIDENA will meet with the US Embassy in Guatemala to demand accountability for US – Canadian based companies operating in Guatemala with impunity but without the consent of impacted communities.

Here are three things you can do to support communities in resistance to Tahoe Resources:

Step 1: Call and Email Your Elected Representatives

Tell the US government: Tahoe Resources contributes to human rights violations in Guatemala!

*Find contact information for your representative by visiting opencongress.org

Hello, my name is ____________________, and I am deeply concerned that North American mining companies are contributing to human rights violations in Guatemala. There is mounting evidence that Tahoe Resources, a company operating in Guatemala with headquarters in Nevada and Vancouver, collaborated with the Guatemalan military and a US private security company to suppress local opposition to their Escobal silver mine through the criminalization of protest and violent repression. Today, military outposts line the highway on either side of the mine, intimidating communities who have consistently and democratically voted against mining in their territory.

The abusive actions of US companies abroad is a US problem and requires US government response. I ask that you share this information and concern with Roberta Jacobson, head of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the US State Department and Todd Robinson, US Ambassador to Guatemala.

Step 2: Join our Thunderclap

Show that you stand with CODIDENA in opposing Tahoe Resources in Guatemala by adding your voice to our Thunderclap. The day before the meeting at the US Embassy, this messages will be posted from your Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr account along with messages from hundreds of others!

Click here to join our Thunderclap.

Continue the conversation! During the month of October, directly ask the US Embassy some hard questions about Tahoe’s operations in Guatemala. Here are some samples:

• #TahoeResources boasts popular support. So why hire a US company with operations in Iraq to develop its security strategy? @usembassyguate
• How can #TahoeResources be allowed to ignore 55,000+ votes against mining by communities neighboring the #Escobal mine? @usembassyguate

Step 3: Show Your Solidarity – a picture is worth 1000 words

Mine-impacted communities want us to know that despite repression and militarization, they are still resisting Tahoe’s operations and expansion. Let them know that you stand with them by taking a picture of yourself with a sign expressing your solidarity. Use the hashtag #StillHereWithYou or #SeguimosConUstedes and #TahoeOnTrial. Tag NISGUA_Guate on Twitter!