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Hudbay Minerals lawsuits (re Guatemala)

In March 2011, 11 Guatemalan women filed a lawsuit in Canada against Hudbay Minerals and its subsidiary HMI Nickel Inc alleging that the companies were complicit in the gang rapes committed by their private security forces on the Fenix nickel mining project in El Estor, Guatemala. Two other lawsuits were filed in Canada against Hudbay Minerals in relation to this project: one by the widow of a community leader killed during protests against the project (filed in September 2010) and another by a paraplegic survivor of a shooting incident at the mine (filed in December 2011). All three cases are ongoing.

Para la versión en español de este perfil de las demandas judiciales contra HudBay Minerals por actividades en Guatemala, haga clic acá.

C русской версией описания этого дела можно ознакомиться здесь.

On 28 March 2011 a group of 11 Guatemalan women filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in Ontario, Canada, against Hudbay Minerals and its subsidiary HMI Nickel Inc.  The women alleged that the companies were complicit in the gang rapes suffered by the women at the hands of security personnel hired by the defendant companies.  The women claim that the gang rapes occurred in January 2007 during forced evictions of members of the Mayan Q’eqchi’ community living in El Estor.  The companies’ nickel mining project – the Fenix project – is located in El Estor.  Members of this community have challenged the legitimacy of the mining concession granted for the Fenix project.  Hudbay Minerals says it will vigorously defend itself against the allegations of rape.

The plaintiffs are part of El Estor’s Mayan Q’eqchi’ community.  Most of this community has never accepted the legitimacy of the mining concession and land rights granted by the Guatemalan Government for the Fenix project.  The plaintiffs argue that the concession is on their ancestral land and was granted to Hudbay without adequately consulting the Q’eqchi’ community.  They have protested the development of the project and opposed the removal and resettlement of their homes and community.

In addition to the March 2011 lawsuit filed against Hudbay Minerals, a lawsuit was filed in September 2010 by the widow of a Q’eqchi community leader, Ich Chamán, who was severely beaten and shot in 2009 during a protest against the Fenix mine.  His widow, Angelina Choc, claims that security guards from the Fenix project violently beat and shot Chamán, who was unarmed, and killed him.  (Ms. Choc is also a plaintiff in the March 2011 lawsuit described above.)  The plaintiff alleged that Hudbay Minerals failed to take adequate precautions to ensure human rights abuses would be not be perpetrated by its security personnel. 

On 10 December 2011, another lawsuit was filed against Hudbay Minerals in Canada by a survivor of a shooting incident at the Fenix project.  The plaintiff, who became paraplegic as a result, alleges that in September of 2009 he was shot at close range in an unprovoked attack by the chief of security for Hudbay’s Fenix project.     

All three lawsuits are ongoing.  In February 2013 Hudbay withrew its opposition to having the case heard in Canadian court.  On 22 July 2013 the Superior Court of Ontario ruled that the lawsuits can proceed to trial in Canadian court.  In late June 2015, the Ontario Court of Justice ordered Hudbay Minerals to disclose internal corporate documentation including information regarding its corporate structure and its control over its subsidiary in Guatemala. In November 2017, 11 guatemalan women travelled to Canada to give testimony as part of the ongoing discovery procedure. On 17 September 2019, the 11 Q’eqchi’ women amended the Statement of Claim to provide further details on the involvement of Skye Resources (now part of Hudbay Minerals) in the violent eviction of their community in January 2007.

On 21 January 2020, the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario ruled in favour of the plaintiff’s in response to Hudbay’s motion to block them from amending their complaint to include further details of rapes committed by the mining security forces.

- "Lawyer touts 'breakthrough' in Hudbay lawsuit", Jeff Gray, Globe & Mail, 25, Feb 2013
- "Shooting Victim Announces Third Human Rights Lawsuit Against Hudbay Minerals", Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors, Rights Action, 7 Dec 2011
- “Hudbay defends against allegations in gang rape lawsuit”, Canadian Press, 29 Mar 2011
- “Hudbay faces fresh $55m lawsuit from Guatemalan group”, Mining Weekly, 29 Mar 2011
- “Guatemalan widow's lawsuit against Hudbay could be precedent setting”, Matthew Hill, Mining Weekly, 18 Feb 2011
- “Widow files $12M suit against mining company”, CBC News, 2 Dec 2010

- Hudbay: [PDF] Hudbay Responds to Allegations in Statement of Claim, 29 Mar 2011
- Hudbay: The facts: Hudbay's former operations in Guatemala 
- Klippensteins, Barriesters & Solicitors [plaintiffs’ counsel]:
- [PDF] Ontario court rules that lawsuits against Hudbay Minerals regarding shootings, murder and gang-rape at its former mine in Guatemala can proceed to trial in Canada, 22 Jul 2013
 - Mayan women victims of gang rapes announce lawsuit against Canadian mining company Hudbay Minerals, 28 Mar 2011
Choc v. Hudbay Minerals Inc. & Caal v. HudBay Minerals Inc. [includes links to legal documents filed by plaintiffs]

- [PDF] Choc v. Hudbay Minerals Inc. - Endorsement, 22 Jul 2013 [Supreme Court of Justice - Ontario]
- [PDF] Caal v Hudbay Minerals Inc. and HMI Nickel Inc. - Statement of Claim, 28 Mar 2011 [filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice]
- [PDF] Choc v Hudbay Minerals Inc., HMI Nickel Inc. and Compania Guatemalteca de Niquel S.A., 24 Sep 2010 [filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice]

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