Tahoe Resources Inc disclosed that twelve unarmed security contract workers at the Guatemalan unit of the gold- and silver-mining company were abducted late on Friday and were held for hours before being released.
In a statement that was released last Saturday, the Nevada-based company stated: “After several hours of being abducted, injured and held at gunpoint, the contractors were eventually released and escorted by the Guatemalan Civil National Police (PNC) back to Jalapa where they were treated for their injuries and trauma.”
However, the company, refused to elaborate on the nature of the injuries.
Tahoe said that the abductors of the contract workers who were working at its Minera San Rafael Guatemalan unit called themselves as the “Peaceful Resistance Group of Mataquescuintla.”
It said that earlier last week, the group set up an illegal blockade on a public road that is located at the entrance to the municipality of Mataquescuintla in the department of Jalapa. It is approximately 3 miles (5 km) from the Escobal mine.
Jim Voorhees, the Chief Executive of Tahoe, stated: “We are treating these developments with the utmost seriousness and are taking appropriate measures to ensure the safety and security of all of our employees and contractors, their families, and local community members.”
The Escobal silver mine in Guatemala is the Tahoe’s flagship. It has been inactive since last year after the top court of Guatemala suspended the operating license of Tahoe after an anti-mining organization said that the indigenous people of Xinca were not properly consulted by the Ministry of Energy and Mines of the country.
This month, Voorhees said that his top priority was putting an end to the dispute that has stopped all of the silver production of the mining company.
Last week, the firm terminated the employment for approximately 200 additional workers of Minera San Rafael, bringing the total number of dismissals to around 70 percent of the workforce of the unit. It has said that it will aim to restore the workforce when the operations resume.