Lawsuit against B.C. mining company should be heard in Guatemala: judge – Laura Kane (Canadian Press/Vancouver Sun – November 11, 2015)

VANCOUVER – Seven protesters hurt outside a Guatemalan mine owned by a company registered in British Columbia must file their lawsuit in the Central American country, a judge has ruled.

The men launched a civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court against Tahoe Resources Inc. (TSX: THO) after security guards sprayed protesters with rubber bullets outside the Escobal Mine in 2013.

The Guatemalan citizens had argued the case should be heard in B.C. because they had no faith that their country’s legal system would hold the company accountable.

But Tahoe asked the court to decline jurisdiction and stay the lawsuit, and Justice Laura Gerow agreed with the company.

“It is apparent that trying this action in British Columbia will result in considerably greater inconvenience and expenses for the parties and dozens of witnesses,” she said in a written decision.

She noted that translators would be required for all the Spanish-speaking plaintiffs, and evidence and witnesses would have to be transported from Guatemala and Tahoe’s U.S. offices.

Tahoe is incorporated in B.C. but its headquarters and majority of its staff are in Reno, Nev. It is the parent company to Guatemalan-based Minera San Rafael, which owns the mine.

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