International protest at US mining company claim for $300 million against Guatamala

May 2, 2019: AFTINET has joined with organisations from Guatemala and 226 other national and international organisations to sign a letter delivered to Guatemalan and US authorities denouncing an ISDS claim for $300 million dollars by the US mining company Kappes, Cassiday and Associates (KCA).

The company is using ISDS in the Central American Free Trade Agreement to claim compensation for a Guatemalan Supreme Court decision to suspend its mining licence for failure to conduct consultations with local communities. Community members have been peacefully protesting at the mine site for seven years because of the potential impacts that the mine could have on water, public health, and the environment.

Even after the Supreme Court ordered the suspension, the company continued to operate the mine. Company owners are under criminal investigation in Guatemala for illegal exploitation of natural resources. The company was also found guilty of operating without a construction license.

“KCA’s project is plagued with illegalities, and yet its owners feel entitled to bring a suit against Guatemala. This sort of blackmail to try to undermine Court decisions, as well as the peaceful resistance and rights of local communities, should not be allowed. Unfortunately, we have already seen such arbitration used for similar reasons in the past,” stated Carla García Zendejas from the Centre for International Environmental Law (CIEL). See more background on the case here.