Guatemala: Silver mine owned by Tahoe Resources (part of Pan American Silver) is accused of attacking defenders and denying presence of indigenous communities; company responds

Employees from the Escobal mine, property of Tahoe Resources (part of Pan American Silver) are accused of attacking defender, Teresa Muñoz and of denying the existence of indigenous communities in the territory.  

The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre invited Pan American Silver to respond; their response can be found below. 


Get RSS feed of these results

All components of this story

Company response
15 July 2019

Response by Pan American Silver

Author: Pan American Silver

...At Pan American Silver, we are committed to managing our operations in a socially responsible manner with utmost respect for human rights. We adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. We do not tolerate threats or any forms of violence. In specific reference to the Escobal mine in Guatemala, we are working towards building enduring, positive relationships with all stakeholders in the region, and to establishing a reputation as an honest, credible partner. At this stage, we are focused on actively listening in order to create a space for dialogue and to gain a deeper understanding of people’s expectations and concerns about the mine. The Guatemalan government must also complete the ILO 169 indigenous consultation, which is being led by the Ministry of Energy and Mines. We will respectfully support and participate in the consultation process. We regard the process of consulting with communities of interest and indigenous peoples very seriously, and are committed to investing the time necessary to do this right. These are not processes where strict timelines can be established ahead of time. We are not providing any timeframe for the potential restart of the Escobal mine...

Download the full document here

23 June 2019

She defended her land against a mine in Guatemala. Then she fled in fear for her life

Author: The Intercept

…Teresa Muñoz was riding her motorbike along her regular delivery route on a winding Guatemala road…when she saw in her rearview mirror one of the white sedans that employees of the Escobal silver mine drove. Mining company cars had followed her before, but this time, the vehicle swerved. The driver rammed her motorbike, pitching her into the street, and then sped off…For years, she had been a leader in the fight against the silver mine, the project of Tahoe Resources, a U.S.-headquartered Canadian company. Located in…San Rafael las Flores, Escobal was on its way to becoming one of the largest silver mines in the world. Muñoz and her family helped organize community votes on the mine…and educated people about the mine’s potential harms…Mines like Escobal use massive quantities of water and divert flows in ways that can disrupt communities’ access. Such projects have also been known to leach heavy metals into drinking water sources. The mountains are part of the territory of the Xinca people…For years, Tahoe Resources argued that there were no Xinca people left in the communities surrounding the mine who would require any consultation…[T]he mine’s denial of the Xincas’ existence fueled a regional reclamation of the identity…

Read the full post here