According to unconfirmed sources, Tahoe Resources has learned that the Guatemalan Constitutional Court issued a decision yesterday to uphold the lower court’s preliminary ruling to suspend its mining license at Tahoe’s Escobal Mine. This new ruling caused Tahoe’s shares to sell off more than 20% during trading today.
I first wrote about the trouble at Tahoe Resources Escobal Mine in my article, WORLD’S 2ND LARGEST SILVER MINE SHUT DOWN: Implications For Company & Market:
First, after the Guatemalan Supreme Court suspended operations at Escobal, Tahoe’s stock price took a real beating falling 33% that day. In the past week, Tahoe’s stock price decline 40%:
A lot of investors were caught by surprise as Tahoe Resources has been making a lot of money from its mines, especially from its Escobal Silver Mine in Guatemala. For example, in 2016 Tahoe Resources reported profits of $118 million on revenue of $784 million. That is a stunning 15% margin of profit… and the majority of that profit was from the Escobal Mine.
Second, the rich profits from the Escobal Mine came at a cost. And the cost was in the way of “serious human rights violations through its operations,” stated by several sources. Unfortunately, many investors that follow the Mainstream financial media do not understand that the Escobal Mine has been, and continues to be, a subject of human rights abuse and violations from day one.
When the Guatemalan lower court first temporarily suspended the mining license at Tahoe’s Escobal Mine back in July, the shares of the company fell 40%. After the ruling by the Guatemalan Constitutional Court to uphold the lower courts decision yesterday to suspend Tahoe’s Escobal mining license, the shares fell another 20% today:
When I first wrote about the suspension of Tahoe’s Escobal mining license, I received some push-back from those that were invested in the company. While I can understand the frustration, I try to put out as much objective data as I can about the mining industry. I wrote about Tahoe’s problems with its Escobal Mine back in 2014.
By doing more research recently, I found out that the company hired a U.S. security defense contractor, International Security Defense Management LLC, in 2011 to deal with the local protesters and community leaders.
This passage comes from the site, TAHOE ON TRAIL website:
The Escobal project depends on a militarized security strategy to suppress opposition and has led to violence and criminalization
•In 2011, Tahoe Resources hired a US security and defense contractor – International Security and Defense Management, LLC – that boasts experience with corporations working in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan to develop a security plan that has treated peaceful protest and community leaders as if they were armed insurgents.
•In June 2012, Tahoe sued the Guatemalan government, stating that protests were hindering its operations and that the State was not doing enough to allow its activities to proceed.
•Between 2011 and 2013, some 90 people were slapped with unfounded criminal charges and made to endure legal processes causing them distress and hardship. Several spent months in jail before being cleared of all charges.
•A Guatemalan court dismissed Tahoe’s lawsuit against the state in February 2013.
•Nonetheless, on March 26, 2013, the Guatemalan government secretly commenced a pilot initiative in San Rafael Las Flores called the “Inter-Institutional Group on Mining Affairs” that frames opposition to mining as a threat to national security. Coronel Ricardo Bustamante, Technical Secretary for the National Security Commission, oversees the group whose office in San Rafael Las Flores was set up with support from Tahoe Resources. Tahoe Resources refers to it as a “High-Level Commission […] to address community issues and oversee security matters.” Guatemalan activists call it “counterinsurgency” and “a military intelligence operation.
•The Guatemalan government imposed a military siege in May 2013 in municipalities where people overwhelmingly voted against mining.
•The “inter-institutional project” continues; two military posts remain in the area.
So, the important question is…. Why does a mining company have to hire a private military type security company if it has the support of the local community??
I have to say, people who have come in defense of the Tahoe Resources Escobal Mine by claiming those that support the local population as LEFTISTS… really pisses me off. And I will tell you why.
We in the Alternative Media continue to write and complain about the CONTROL OF THE CORRUPT ELITE. This is one of the major talking points on most alternative blogger website. Unfortunately, it seems that some precious metals analysts in the alternative media seem to forget that this principle also pertains to people dealing with the same corruption and abuse in other countries.
I gather the locals living next to the Escobal Mine in Guatemala do not deserve the same JUSTICE as we do in the Alternative Media in our fight against the corrupt elite.
According to the recent press release, the Guatalamen Constitutional Court will start hearings on August 28th and will be issuing a ruling about the Escobal Mine in the next two several months. I have no idea what the ruling will be, because it seems like the Top Leaders in the Guatemalan government, who are supported by the same senior leaders in the corrupt west, want to see the mine open and running again.
Which means… this will be the same sort of fight between the CORPORATE INTERESTS and the SMALL GUY.
However, I would like to state once again; several large pension plans have dropped Tahoe Resources from their investment portfolios because they understand the problems and risk of owning the stock. According to Tahoe On Trail Press Release:
February 9, 2017
(Ottawa/Reno/Guatemala) Tahoe Resources is one of fourteen companies featured as a dangerous investment in the fifth edition of ‘Dirty Profits’ launched today in Hamburg, Germany and edited by the organization Facing Finance.
The publication identifies two billion-dollar European pension funds that have divested from the company, the Netherlands’ Pensioenfonds (PGB) and Norway’s Norges Bank Investment Management. The group calls for binding regulations on financial institutions and the elimination of this and other harmful investments from their portfolios.
Problems cited include Tahoe Resources’ lack of respect for communities that have peacefully and democratically expressed their opposition to its Escobal mine in southeastern Guatemala, and a campaign of persecution through unfounded legal cases, violent incidents and militarization.
The Netherlands and Norwegian Pension plans divested from Tahoe Resources several years ago. I would imagine they are glad that they did, not only for ethical reasons but also now that the stock has fallen 60%.
Investors who decided to BUY THE DIP last month when Tahoe’s stock fell 40% are now wondering if that was a good idea after it fell another 20% today. I have no clue what kind of ruling the Guatemalan Constitutional Court will make during the hearings over the next few months. However, I would not risk my money on a company that was dropped by two large countries’ pension plans due to what they found as unethical behavior at its Escobal Mine.
Lastly, on the future of Tahoe’s share price, here is a famous quote from Clint Eastwood, “DO YOU FEEL LUCKY.”
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