4 February, 2023

Constitutionality Court leaves without effect citizen consultation on mining in Asunción Mita municipality

According to the Chamber, this decision annuls the consultation carried out by the community members last 18 of September.

Editorial Dept. Voz de la Diaspora

Guatemala – The Constitutional Court (CC) provisionally suspended the articles of the Municipal Consultation Regulation at the request of the Neighbors of the municipality of Asunción Mita, of the department of Jutiapa and annulled the citizen consultation carried out last 18 September on mining exploitation.

The regulation in question is contained in the minutes 4-2022 of the 12 July 2022 and was used to make the 18 September a municipal consultation of neighbors where they asked if the citizens agree with the installation and operation of the metallic mining project in any of its modalities the municipality.

Photo File (Courtesy)

The mining company that is authorized to operate in that municipality is Cerro Blanco, mining right in charge of Elevar Resources who spoke last week and pointed out that the consultation was biased and illegal.

Article 1, refers to the jurisdiction for inquiries, but when suspended, It is observed that it is evident that the municipality does not have jurisdiction to carry out consultations on issues that are the exclusive competence of the executive, refers to the Guatemalan American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham).

Of the other two suspended articles, the number 3 they empower a Commission to execute a consultation instead of the Municipal Council doing it, and the 20 establishes that the consultation is binding for the municipality.

The CC states in the recitals that it must decree a provisional suspension if, in its opinion, the unconstitutionality is notorious and likely to cause irreparable encumbrances..

According to the Chamber, this decision annuls the consultation carried out by the community members last 18 of September.

Waleska Sterkel, The executive director of Amcham indicated that what is done with the decision of the Court is to once again give legal certainty to the investor that they can continue with their operations in Guatemala, In addition to the importance of making a decision on time because it could try to replicate a similar modality in other municipalities..

Citizen consultation day, domingo 18 of September in Asuncion Mita, Guatemala

 "If the Constitutional Court had let this matter go like this, could have been replicated in other municipalities, but nevertheless, right now the court sets a positive precedent since what it is doing is exercising the law and not letting groups that do not have the right to be making consultations or that are not their responsibility to do so”, added the executive.

Citizens of Asunción Mita, Guatemala lines up to vote in mining consultation