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Guatemala court grants Tahoe unit San Rafael right to operate

GUATEMALA CITY, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Guatemala’s Supreme Court has ruled that the local unit of Canadian miner Tahoe Resources can restart work at its Juan Bosco and El Escobal mines while carrying out a mandatory consultation of the local indigenous population.

On its Twitter feed, Guatemala’s judicial authority said on Friday night that the court had ordered the San Rafael unit to conduct the survey of the indigenous population on their views about the mining projects during the next year.

“During this period, the mining company San Rafael will be able to continue its operations,” the authority said.

The decision marks the latest twist in a saga over the mines that has battered shares in Tahoe Resources.

Last month the Constitutional Court, Guatemala’s top court of law, upheld a lower tribunal’s preliminary decision to suspend the two mining licenses over whether the indigenous community had been properly consulted by San Rafael.

Escobal is one of the world’s largest silver mines and the mining licenses have been suspended since July 5 following a complaint by an environmental group about the consultation.

The Supreme Court’s decision can still be appealed to the Guatemalan Constitutional Court. (Reporting by Bill Barreto; Editing by Alistair Bell)