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Shares of precious-metal miner Tahoe Resources (NYSE: TAHO) fell over 13% today after the company announced an update regarding its Escobal mine in Guatemala. The Guatemalan Supreme Court issued a clarification about the specific geographic regions included in the consultation with Xinca communities conducted by the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM), which must report back to the Court within 12 months. The consultation process was mandated in the Court's recent decision to reinstate the company's operating license at Escobal.
In other words, nothing really changed, although more details were provided to the company. But that wasn't the only news today.
Tahoe Resources also announced the Supreme Court denied the company's request to order MEM to renew its export credentials for the year ahead. That essentially makes the company's operating license worthless at the moment. As of 2:11 p.m. EDT, the stock had settled to a 12.2% loss.
Receiving clarification about which regions -- and therefore which specific Xinca communities -- will be included in the consultation process with MEM, may not seem like a big deal, but that information allows Tahoe Resources to keep an eye out for foul play from any NGOs trying to game the process. So that's good news for the company.
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Of course, since MEM won't be forced to renew the miner's export credentials, there's not much that can happen from Escobal in the meantime. That's especially true considering there's a "roadblock" at Casillas, which is about 16 miles from the mine and blocking transport to and from it. The company is working to peacefully end the roadblock.
There always seem to be new twists and turns, but it appears the next big decision investors will need to look out for will be from the Constitutional Court, which is expected to rule on all of the company's appeals to Supreme Court decisions by the end of 2017.
Tahoe Resources stock has been mired in volatility since the original MEM decision to revoke the operating license at Escobal in early July -- and today's news reminds investors they aren't out of the woods just yet. This is truly a messy situation, especially considering the political stakes involved in a country most investors aren't familiar with. In other words, when the dust settles, this still could be decided in any number of ways.
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