Pan American shareholders approve purchase of Tahoe Resources, despite concerns re alleged violations of indigenous rights at Guatemala mine

Past allegations and responses from Tahoe Resources related to the Escobal Mine are available via the links below (most recent first).

Guatemala: Constitutional Court confirms suspension of Tahoe Resources' Escobal mine & orders consultation process with indigenous peoples

Guatemala: Ronald David Barillas, environmental & human rights defender working on impacts of sugar & mining, killed. We invited Tahoe Resources to respond; the response is available here.

Guatemala: Shares of Tahoe Resources drop after Supreme Court suspends mining licenses due to possible lack of consultation with indigenous people; includes company statement

Guatemala: Police use tear gas against protesters blocking Tahoe Resources mine over alleged negative impacts; company points to prior attempts at engaging stakeholders

Guatemala: New report exposes abuses & intimidation against those opposing Tahoe Resources' Escobal mine linked to private security companies. We invited Tahoe Resources to respond; the response is available here.


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3 January 2019

Civil society groups file complaints asking for investigation of Pan American & Tahoe Resources related to alleged violations of indigenous rights

Author: Gabriel Friedman, Financial Post

"Days before merger, complaints filed asking for investigation of Pan American and Tahoe Resources," 3 Jan 2019

Less than a week before Pan American Silver Corp. shareholders vote on a US$1.1 billion acquisition of Tahoe Resources Inc., three non-profit firms have filed complaints with the British Columbia Securities Commission accusing the companies of hiding key risks... Shin Imai, a director of the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project at Osgoode Hall Law School, who drafted the complaints... [said] “This Tahoe case is just a classic example that shows that if you don’t have a social licence and you don’t disclose that, then investors get screwed.”

... In May 2017, Imai filed his first complaint with the BCSC asking for an investigation of Tahoe — as he is doing again now — for failing to disclose its conflicts with the local Xinka community near the Escobal mine. Two months after that initial complaint was filed, in July 2017, a Guatemalan court ordered the mine closed because of a lack of consultation with the local Xinka community. That court decision was upheld in September by Guatemala’s Constitutional Court... In a statement, Pan American said it believed the issues relating to the Escobal mine have been well-documented in its own filings and past filings by Tahoe, and also that it believes consulting Indigneous communities is important... “We look forward to peacefully engaging with these stakeholders in good faith and to the opportunity to address any concerns,” the statement read in part. “We have been clear that this process will take time and we have never set a timeline for the restart of the Escobal mine.”

Read the full post here

4 January 2019

Civil society letter to Canadian Pension Plan about risks of its investment ahead of Pan American-Tahoe Resources merger

Author: MiningWatch Canada & Breaking the Silence Maritimes-Guatemala Network

In 2017, it was reported that the CCPIB, like other major pension funds, no longer had shares in the company. But with the recent announcement of this merger we are concerned that once again the hard-earned pension funds of Canadian workers will be tied to such a conflictive mine with great possibility for future repeated abuses. Whereas both Tahoe and Pan American have been reporting positively about the potentiality and prospects of this mine, which would thrust Pan American into the position of “world’s largest silver producer”, we write to inform you of continued ongoing concerns around disclosure, opposition to the Escobal mine, and the likelihood of further human rights abuses if communities’ rights are not respected. As such, we would like to take this opportunity to express our concerns and alert the CPPIB of the potential risks of such a transaction.

Read the full post here

9 January 2019

Pan American wins shareholder OK for Tahoe Resources takeover

Author: Ernest Scheyder & Nichola Saminather, Reuters

Pan American Silver Corp’s... offer to buy rival Tahoe Resources Inc... was approved by shareholders of both companies... putting responsibility for Guatemala’s troubled Escobal mine in the hands of a new owner. Pan American believes it can eventually re-open Escobal, the world’s second-largest silver mine, succeeding where Tahoe has so far failed. The mine has been shuttered since 2017 amid a long-simmering feud with the Xinca indigenous population. Vancouver-based Pan American plans to meet frequently with local communities in Guatemala to understand their concerns about the mine and try to find common ground, Chief Executive Michael Steinmann said in an interview. “This will take a lot of listening and discussions with the communities to make sure that we understand their needs,” Steinmann said. “We’re very early in this process. There’s absolutely no rush.”... [T[he Xinca, a farming community of about 400,000, strongly oppose the mine due to worries it will harm their homeland and water.

Read the full post here