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Guatemala mulls two-year ban on new mining licenses

Keywords: Tags  Guatemala, mining licence, moratorium, Presiden Orro Perex Molina, Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — Guatemala is considering a two year moratorium on new mining liciences.

President Otto Perez Molina said this week that his government would present a bill to Congress authorizing a moratorium on new mining licenses, during which the government would consider new mining laws and facilitate a national dialogue between the government, local communities and key industry sectors.

The move is the result of Cabinet meetings discussing the fate of the country’s natural resources, with the president viewing changes in mining laws as conducive to attracting investment and creating a business environment that will stimulate economic growth and help alleviate poverty in Guatemala, the government said.

Guatemala has issued three mining licenses since the Molina administration assumed power in January 2012, the president said.
Firestone Ventures Inc., Solway Group and Anfield Nickel Corp., all of which have base metal mining operations in Guatemala, could not be reached for comment.

Tahoe Resources Inc., which is developing the Escobal silver project in Guatemala, said that while none of its mining licenses will be affected by the proposed action, it “will have to pull back on some of our regional work for a period of time.”

“While we are disappointed with the potential effects to our regional exploration programs, Tahoe will continue to work with the Guatemalan government to amend the mining law, ensuring a profitable mining industry and continued economic prosperity in the country,” Tahoe president and chief executive officer Kevin McArthur said.

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