(Updates with detail from court, background)
GUATEMALA CITY, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Guatemala’s highest court on Monday confirmed the suspension of mining operations at the San Rafael unit of miner Tahoe Resources Inc., and ordered the government to carry out an immediate consultation of the local indigenous population.
The Constitutional Court upheld the suspension of licenses at Tahoe’s Escobal mine, one of the world’s biggest silver mines, and at the company’s smaller Juan Bosco mine.
The licenses for the two mines were suspended in July 2017 after an anti-mining group alleged that the energy and mining ministry had not consulted with the Xinca indigenous people before awarding the license to Tahoe.
Constitutional Court magistrate Martin Guzman told a news conference that the suspension would remain in place until the consultation had been carried out. After that, it was possible that Tahoe could regain its licenses, he said.
A Tahoe spokesman had no immediate comment.
The suspension of Tahoe’s operations in Guatemala has hurt the company, leading to a second-quarter loss. The company’s chief executive said last month that ending the dispute over the San Rafael unit was his top priority. (Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Editing by Tom Hogue)