Hudbay Minerals lawsuits (re Guatemala)

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.

Hudbay_nickel_mine_Guatemala_credit_mining_injustice_solidarity_networkOn 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.

- "Important Canadian court ruling in the Hudbay Minerals (Guatemala) lawsuit", Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, 30 Jun 2015
- "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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Artículo
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Autor(a): George Waggott & Darrell W. Podowski, McMillan LLP (Canada), in Mondaq

The Court's decision [in Choc v Hudbay Minerals] to dismiss the motion to strike has been heralded by some as confirmation of an expansion of the scope of liability of the activities of multinationals…The Court noted that the test to strike a claim, which must be based solely on a reading of the plaintiff's pleadings as presented, is stringent. In the specific circumstances, the Court noted that there are competing policy considerations in recognizing a duty of care between a Canadian company and individuals harmed by security personnel at its foreign operations. While the approach to claiming negligence was described as "novel", it does not therefore automatically mean that such a claim will be clearly unsustainable or untenable…The Hudbay decision does align with a recent trend, which is that courts in Canada appear to be taking an expansive view of their own jurisdiction in respect of events that take place outside of our borders…

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Autor(a): Sudeep Chakravarti, LiveMint & Wall Street Journal

Can a court ruling in the US on use of conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo...have a bearing on how businesses may be forced to conduct themselves in India and other parts of South Asia...In a world where matters of business and human rights increasingly intersect, and act as precedence and pressure points for the evolution of activism, community empowerment, corporate behaviour, and even judicial activism, it’s probable...[T]he ruling...will have ripple effects beyond the US, and beyond the...the Congo...[O]rganizations that work in the human rights and empowerment spaces worldwide will be further energized to push their agendas...Indian businesses with global footprints or global businesses with presence in India...could come under greater human rights- and corporate governance-related scrutiny. [refers to Vedanta Resources, Bunge, Hudbay Minerals]

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Autor(a): Romina Maurino, Canadian Press

Three lawsuits against a Canadian mining company over alleged shootings and gang rapes at a Guatemalan project will be allowed to proceed in Canada following a ruling that makes it possible for firms to face liability at home for incidents that occur overseas…The suits allege that security personnel, along with members of the police and military, attacked and raped 11 women in 2007 who were forcibly removed from their village in relation to the Fenix project. Two related lawsuits seek to hold HudBay Minerals Inc. and a subsidiary responsible for the subsequent killing of community leader Adolfo Ich…HudBay…has said the accusations contradict available information and that it would defend itself "vigorously against them.''…HudBay spokesman John Vincic said the ruling does not involve any determination of the merits of the case.

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Autor(a): Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors [counsel for the plaintiffs]

In a precedent-setting ruling with national and international implications, Superior Court of Ontario Justice Carole Brown has ruled that Canadian company Hudbay Minerals can potentially be held legally responsible in Canada for rapes and murder at a mining project formerly owned by Hudbay’s subsidiary in Guatemala. As a result of Justice Brown’s ruling, the claims of 13 Mayan Guatemalans will proceed to trial in Canadian courts…Hudbay argued in court that corporate head offices could never be held responsible for harms at their subsidiaries, no matter how involved they were in on-the-ground operations. Justice Brown disagreed and concluded that “the actions as against Hudbay and HMI should not be dismissed.”

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Autor(a): Compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Welcome to the 9th issue of the Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletin. To assist all those following corporate legal accountability issues, we send this bulletin to highlight key developments, new cases profiled on our site, updates to existing profiles, and other news. Our Corporate Legal Accountability Portal is an online information hub providing resources for non-lawyers as well as lawyers – including victims, advocates, NGOs, businesspeople, lawyers bringing lawsuits against companies and lawyers defending companies. The portal provides impartial, concise information about lawsuits against companies in which human rights abuses are alleged – its aim is to demystify these lawsuits. Each case profile includes materials from both the plaintiffs and defendants, to the extent they are available.[Refers to adidas, Agua Mineral Chusmiza, Alstom, Areva, BASF, BP, CACI, Chevron, Chiquita, Drummond, DynCorp, ExxonMobil, HudBay Minerals, Monterrico Metals (part of Zijin), Rio Tinto, Shell, Tate & Lyle, Texaco (part of Chevron), Titan (now L-3), Vedanta Resources, Veolia Transport (part of Veolia Environnement)]

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Autor(a): Jeff Gray, Globe and Mail [Canada]

Western retailers and fashion brands are taking greater interest in the working conditions of contract workers overseas, as questions are raised in legal quarters about the potential for greater liability after disasters like the collapse of the Rana Plaza. Lawyers in Canada say launching a class action on behalf of Bangladeshi victims against a Canadian retailer in court here would be very difficult, but not necessarily impossible…[A]ny Bangladeshi plaintiffs suing here would face an uphill battle and that they would likely have to show some sort of direct, hands-on involvement or key decisions related to the factory took place in Canada, or involved Canadian personnel…And any lawsuit would also face strong arguments that the legal fight belongs in Bangladesh, where the events occurred and those directly responsible and affected live…[Refers to HudBay Minerals]

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Artículo
5 May 2013

Sector minero canadiense se enfrenta a un aluvión de acusaciones y conflictos

Autor(a): Julio César Rivas, EFE

El sector minero y petrolero canadiense...se enfrenta a graves acusaciones de violaciones de derechos humanos y conflictos legales con gobiernos por sus prácticas laborales, sociales y medioambientales. En Chile, las autoridades judiciales han paralizado las obras de…Pascua-Lama, un megaproyecto de Barrick Gold…por problemas medioambientales. En Bolivia, South American Silver Corporation (SASC), inició ayer un arbitraje internacional contra el Gobierno de Bolivia por la anulación de su concesión en una mina de plata e indio…En Perú, la empresa petrolífera Talisman se retiró…de la región amazónica del país tras años de protestas y enfrentamientos con los indígenas…que se oponen a la explotación…En…Canadá, un tribuna…[determinará] si se juzga en el país a la minera canadiense Hudbay por violaciones de los derechos humanos en Guatemala…[país donde el gobierno] ha decretado el estado de sitio…para controlar la violencia desatada por las protestas relacionadas con las operaciones de una mina propiedad de la empresa canadiense Tahoe Resources…

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14 March 2013

Mining unease [Canada]

Autor(a): Saul Chernos, Now Magazine [Canada]

...[At] the 2013 conference of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada...protests...managed nicely to make the connection between mining behaviour at home and abroad...[One] drew attention to proceedings against...Hudbay Minerals....[alleging] the company, through its Guatemalan subsidiary [Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel], is responsible for the death of one indigenous anti-mining activist, the injury of another and the rape of 11 women...[A]boriginal communities across Canada have signed roughly 200 agreements with mining firms for joint projects, in some cases reaping only modest equity stakes...[The] terrain on the partnership front could get increasingly rocky, fractured as it already is by complaints about inadequate consultation and compensation, disrespect for traditional and sensitive lands, and lingering pollution...PDAC now promotes corporate social responsibility, enviro protection and aboriginal engagement, exhorting companies to consult up front. [also refers to Nordex Explosives, Cliffs Natural Resources, Shell]

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Autor(a): Jeff Gray, Globe & Mail [Canada]

As the widow of a slain Mayan community leader looked on, lawyers clashed in a Toronto courtroom…over whether…HudBay Minerals Inc., can be held liable for alleged violence at a Guatemalan mine owned by a subsidiary. Lawyers for HudBay…say allowing it to proceed would “wreak havoc” with the well-established corporate law principle that parent companies are not liable for the actions of their subsidiaries…Lawyers for the plaintiffs, and Amnesty International Canada, which intervened in the case,…argued that HudBay itself can be held liable for alleged negligence in the case, alleging the company’s executives made key decisions “on the ground” for its subsidiary about its security guards, relations with nearby indigenous people, and the “forced evictions” of Mayan protesters who claim the mine’s land as their own. The judge…reserved her decision.

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Artículo
4 March 2013

Demandante de Hudbay dice que es difícil que en Guatemala se haga justicia

Autor(a): EFE y Siglo 21.com [Guatemala]

…[Angélica] Choc, viuda del líder indígena Adolfo Ich…asesinado en septiembre de 2009 en Guatemala presuntamente por agentes de seguridad de la mina Fénix, asistió…al inicio del juicio contra Hudbay, cuya subsidiaria Compañía Guatemalteca del Níquel (CGN) era la propietaria de la explotación minera…[La víctima] quiere que "se haga justicia y que paguen por todos los daños que han hecho...” El bufete de abogados…Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors acusan a Hudbay de "negligencia" por el asesinato...así como por la violación de 11 mujeres indígenas y del ataque contra Germán Chub Choc que le dejó paralítico en una silla de ruedas……Murray Klippenstein destacó que el caso de Choc…contra Hudbay es "histórico", porque es la primera vez que una compañía minera canadiense se enfrenta a un juicio en Canadá por supuestos abusos ocurridos fuera del país norteamericano[Los] abogados defensores de Hudbay argumentaron ante la jueza…del Tribunal Superior de Ontario, que rechace el caso porque no tiene base, excede las limitaciones y porque los tribunales canadienses no tienen jurisdicción...

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