Lawsuits against HudBay Minerals to proceed to trial by Ontario jury

TORONTO – A civil trial in Ontario involving a Canadian mining company being sued over alleged shootings and gang rapes at a project in Guatemala will proceed with a jury, the law firm representing the plaintiffs said Thursday.

The office of Klippensteins Barristers and Solicitors said the jury will have the opportunity to “set the standards for how we as a nation expect Canadian corporations to behave abroad.”

HudBay Minerals (TSX:HBM) is facing three lawsuits related to its Fenix project in Guatemala. Klippensteins is representing the plaintiffs, 13 Mayan Guatemalans.

The suits allege that security personnel, along with members of the police and military, attacked and raped 11 women in 2007 who were forcibly removed from their village.

It also seeks to hold HudBay Minerals Inc. and a subsidiary responsible for the subsequent killing of community leader, Adolfo Ich, as a result of a land dispute and the shooting and paralysis of local resident, German Chub.

HudBay, which didn’t own the mining operations when most of the alleged incidents occurred, has said the accusations contradict available information and that it would defend itself “vigorously against them.”

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The Toronto-based company bought the Fenix nickel mine project in Guatemala in a corporate takeover of Skye Resources in 2008, but sold it in 2011 to Russian firm Solway Investment Group to focus on its Canadian and Peruvian projects.

Klippensteins said the litigation is now in the discovery stage and a trial is still at least several years away.