Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Guatemala: mining company suspends work after US sanctions

GUATEMALA CITY ( Associated Press) – One of three mining companies operating in Guatemala sanctioned by the United States for bribing local officials announced Wednesday that it has suspended operations indefinitely until it “rectifies its situation.” . The suspension comes less than a month after it was approved.

The company Mayaniquel Sociedad Anónima said in a press release that the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designation announced on November 18 was incorrect, forcing it to suspend operations indefinitely. The company operates in the departments of Alta Verapaz and Izabal.

In November, the US Treasury Department designated Belarusian-born Russian citizens Dmitry Kudryakov and Irina Litvinyuk, mining company executives, for allegedly “running multiple bribery schemes over several years involving politicians, judges and government officials”. Gave.

Two days after the sanctions, two foreigners left Guatemala for Panama. Guatemala later announced that it was withdrawing the permanent residency it had granted.

The Treasury Department’s sanctions were extended to Guatemala Nickel Company (CGN), Nickel Processing Company (ProNiCo) and Minenickel, subsidiaries of Solvay Investment Group, a Russian-owned company that has exploited Guatemalan mines since 2011. , the Treasury Department said.

Solvay denies having links with Mayankiel or being a Russian company. He also said that he had fired the approved two at the direction of his company and that he had launched an internal investigation to determine what happened.

Mayankile, for its part, indicated that it had taken action to minimize the negative effects of this situation on employees, contractors and suppliers, as well as on beneficiaries of its social programs.

The US agency said the sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act target those who commit serious human rights violations and corruption around the world.

As a result of the sanctions, all assets and interests of sanctioned persons that are in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons are blocked and must be reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Mining companies in Guatemala have received strong support from Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, who has declared a state blockade of several states in El Astor municipality in Izabel, where CGN and Pronico operate, to quell community demonstrations against the companies. Police and army have been sent to ensure. that they can continue to work.

El Ester is a municipality of over 70,000 inhabitants located in the north of Guatemala in front of Lake Izabal—a very poor area with few paved roads and where most people living outside the small municipal area do so in houses made of wood and sheets. From. The inhabitants generally subsist on fishing and trade. The area is in constant conflict due to the operation of the mines – many people have been killed.

Nation World News Desk
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