(Reuters) - Tahoe Resources Inc said on Wednesday its Escobal silver mine in Guatemala could restart by December 2019, based on the timing of the company’s plan to take a $170 million impairment charge related to the mine’s closure.
Escobal, the world’s second largest silver mine, has been mothballed since last year after officials suspended Tahoe’s license to operate, part of a long-simmering feud with the Xinca indigenous population.
The projected restart date is effectively the company’s best guess, from a financial planning perspective, for when the mine could reopen. The mine could open sooner or later, depending on several factors outside the company’s control, Tahoe said.
As part of a consultation process ordered by a Guatemalan court, Tahoe must meet with Xinca and other local groups near the mine and work with them to resolve the impasse.
If the mine opens earlier than next December, Tahoe would shrink the size of the impairment charge, which was announced on Tuesday evening as the company posted a quarterly loss that was less then Wall Street expected.
The mothballed Escobal mine has been costing Tahoe about $6.6 million each quarter, an amount the company said it hopes to shrink to $5 million each quarter.
Shares of Reno, Nevada-based Tahoe fell 3 percent to $2.42.
Reporting by Ernest Scheyder in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe