In 2017, when the house walls of residents in Xinca indigenous communities of southwestern Guatemala began to crack, they blamed the nearby San Rafael Mine, run since 2014 by the Canadian company Tahoe Resources.
Mining operations were shut down following protests and a court case in which the Xinca charged that they had not been widely consulted about the establishment of the mine, as Guatemalan and international labor laws require.
After a year of deliberation, a Guatemalan court has ruled that the national Ministry of Energy and Mines must engage the Xinca in a fully consultative process.
But there is a catch.
The ruling does not allow the Xinca to actually stop the mine’s operations.
Rather, it requires the rapid development of guidelines for managing environmental and social issues related to mining.
While the government seems eager to get the mine operating again, it is unclear what will happen if as a result of the consultation process the Xinca reject the mine outright.
Source: Plaza Publica (Guatemala)