American precious metals producer Tahoe Resources has terminated about 200 more jobs at its Escobal silver mine in Guatemala owing to a legal tussle centering around the suspension of its mining license.


Image: Tahoe Resources makes more job cuts at Escobal silver mine in Guatemala. Photo courtesy Unit 5/

The Escobal silver mine located in the Santa Rosa Department is operated by Minera San Rafael, a local subsidiary of Tahoe Resources.

Operations at the Guatemalan silver mine had been suspended since July 2017. This was after a provisional decision from the Supreme Court of Guatemala that the country’s mining ministry did not undertake proper consultations with the Xinca indigenous people before awarding the mining license to Tahoe Resources.

According to the US mining company, the Guatemalan Constitutional Court heard the appeals of the Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate the Escobal mining license on 25 October, 2017.

The company said that although the Constitutional Court must rule within five calendar days of the public hearing as per the country’s law, it is yet to come up with a ruling till date. Further, Tahoe Resources said that it cannot predict the timing of the court ruling.

In January, the miner terminated 250 jobs following the suspension of the mining license.

The US mining company blamed the latest job cuts at the Escobal silver mine on the ongoing delay in the court ruling, the “lack of transparency” regarding the status of the legal process and also its inability to resume mining operations.

Minera San Rafael, which employed 1,030 people at the Guatemalan silver mine before the license suspension, has dismissed nearly 70% of the workforce.

Tahoe Resources president and CEO Jim Voorhees said: “Despite extensive efforts in Guatemala, we have been unsuccessful in reaching a favorable resolution that would avoid negative impacts for all stakeholders, especially for our workforce and the local economy.

“We are extremely disappointed with the need for a further workforce reduction at this time, however this is a natural consequence to the prolonged inaction in the legal system.”

The company said that it will look to restart operations and restore workforce at the Escobal silver mine after it gets favorable court ruling regarding the mining license.