Irregularities and discrimination in the consultation process
Since October 2018, there have been repeated irregularities that violate the court-ordered consultation process. As the Xinka Parliament writes in their statement, “Over this past year it has become clear that both the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Ministry of Environment are completely at the service of the San Rafael Mining Company. They have violated the administrative due process and disobeyed a sentence from the Constitutional Court. We are left with a consultation process in which the Xinka people have no opportunity to adequately contribute our opinions.”
Since the CC’s judgement, the Xinka Parliament has raised concerns about procedural errors in the consultation process. Many of these concerns relate to the court-ordered redefinition of the mine’s area of influence, in which the company has pushed to only include the municipality of San Rafael las Flores, where the mine is. The Parliament has consistently been clear that the social, cultural, and environmental impacts of the mine cannot be reduced to a such a small area, much less an area arbitrarily defined by a government map. For the CC decision to be upheld and the rights of Xinka people be recognized, their concept of territory, spirituality, and social organization must also be recognized.
Despite repeated irregularities, MEM and MARN have pushed forward with the consultation process. On August 8 and 29, MEM held meetings with members of local developments councils from only one municipality. On Twitter, MEM claimed that these meetings were the beginning of phase two of the consultation, despite the fact that phase one, the definition of the area of influence, was never completed. What’s more, the Xinka Parliament was not invited to the meetings.