Accountability group seeks report on consultation with Guatemala’s Xinka Indigenous people
(Guatemala City, Washington DC, Toronto, Tatamagouche, Ottawa) Today, ahead of the January 8th shareholder vote on Pan American Silver’s acquisition of Tahoe Resources, the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP) filed letters with the British Columbia Securities Commission and the US Securities and Exchange Commission asking for an investigation about claims in relation to the court-ordered consultation with Xinka Indigenous people in Guatemala.
The letters provide evidence to the BCSC and the U.S. SEC that Pan American Silver (TSX: PAAS; NASDAQ: PAAS) and Tahoe Resources’ (TSX: THO; NYSE: TAHO) have made misleading statements on the future of the Escobal mine, and failed to disclose serious issues and conflict already emerging with the consultation process. The letter also points out the failure to disclose that the court suspended an application for an exploratory licence as well as an order that could result in increased royalties.
These letters mark the third submission regarding Tahoe Resources in less than three years. JCAP filed letters to the U.S. SEC in August 2016, and with the BCSC in May 2017, informing them that Tahoe had not disclosed its failure to consult with Indigenous people and its knowledge of serious community opposition to the mine. Tahoe denied that there were any problems, but two months after the British Columbia complaint, in July 2017, a court in Guatemala suspended operations over discrimination and lack of consultation with Xinka Indigenous people.
“I use this case in my business law classes to show what happens when companies don’t get consent from communities,” said Shin Imai, JCAP lawyer and professor emeritus at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. “At its height in 2014, Tahoe was trading at almost $25, and now it is hovering below $4.”
Xinka authorities are closely monitoring the process to make sure their rights are respected during the consultation and have denounced Tahoe Resources for pursuing parallel negotiations on the margins of the consultation process, circumventing the Xinka people’s legitimately elected authorities.
“Tahoe has a proven track record of grossly overstating its social licence, and this is no exception,” said Ellen Moore, International Mining Coordinator for Earthworks. “It is critical that BC and US regulators investigate Pan American and Tahoe for not disclosing everything they know about conflicts surrounding the consultation process and the potential for a restart of the Escobal mine.”
NOTE: Due to the U.S. government shutdown, JCAP was unable to electronically submit the U.S. SEC complaints. They will do so as soon as the website is up and running again.
- Ellen Moore (English and Spanish) International Mining Coordinator, Earthworks firstname.lastname@example.org +1 202 887 1872 x128
- Shin Imai (English and Spanish) Lawyer, Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (justice-project.org) email@example.com +1 647 524 2312
- Moisés Divas Santos, (Spanish only), Director, Diocesan Committee in Defence of Nature (CODIDENA) firstname.lastname@example.org +502 5158 3503