Pan American Silver is a Canadian mining company founded in 1994 that began operations with just one project — the Quiruvilca mine in Peru. Since then, it has grown to become one of the world’s largest silver mining companies, extracting millions of ounces of silver, gold, and other precious metals from Latin America each year.
In 2019, the company expanded when it acquired Tahoe Resources and its mines in Guatemala, Peru, and Canada.
It is important to examine Pan American Silver’s track record, not only because of its size and experience operating in Latin America, but because its operations are emblematic of how mining happens on the continent. In many of the countries that it operates, the company violates the self-determination of affected communities and has been accused of lobbying or suing provincial and national authorities to overturn or weaken existing environmental protections to advance its projects.
The company has actively participated, or has been complicit, in a number of human rights violations through forced displacement and militarization, violence, and social control in order to operate and expand their activities. Their mining operations have caused irreversible harms to the environment, especially water. And they continue to cause harm to the cultural and spiritual practices of Indigenous peoples in many areas where they operate.
As part of its business strategy, Pan American Silver says in its Sustainability Report that it focuses on “environmental stewardship and the responsible management of Earth’s finite natural resources,” fostering positive relationships with all stakeholders and adopting ethical and sustainable business practices. Ross Beaty, Pan American Silver’s founder and current Chairperson of the Board of Directors, is a major player in mining investment and has a reputation for returning huge profits to shareholders and other investors. He insists that mining is beneficial — but beneficial to whom?
Learn more about the company’s operations in Latin American and the many ways communities are fighting to protect their lands, cultures, and livelihoods from Pan American Silver’s operations.