Shares of precious metals miner Tahoe Resources Inc. (NYSE: TAHO) rose nearly 40% Monday morning following the company’s announcement of a favorable ruling by the Guatemalan Supreme Court reinstating the company’s license for its Escobal silver mine. The ruling reverses a preliminary ruling issued by the same court in late August.
In its August decision, the court sided with a Guatemalan human rights group Centro de Acción Legal Ambiental y Social de Guatemala (CALAS) against the country’s ministry of energy and mines alleging that the ministry violated the rights of an indigenous people’s right of consultation in advance of granting the Escobal license to Tahoe’s Guatemalan subsidiary, Minera San Rafael. In the reversal ruling, the court ordered the ministry to consult with the indigenous communities and report back within 12 months.
Tahoe noted that CALAS and other parties may appeal the latest ruling to the country’s Constitutional Court. The company has asked for clarification on which areas and communities must be consulted. Tahoe may appeal that clarification to the Constitutional Court, which is expected to rule on all the appeals by the end of the year.
If that’s not confusing enough, the company noted an ongoing roadblock preventing it from immediately restarting operations. Until Tahoe is able to restart, it is only able to access $75 million of a $300 million revolving credit facility it entered in July with the result that Tahoe “may continue to be subject to events of default.”
Tahoe’s Escobal mine contains proved and probable mineral reserves of 23.7 million metric tons (tonnes) with an average silver grade of 351 grams/tonne containing 267.5 million ounces of silver. Production totaled 21.2 million ounces in 2016.
Shares posted a 52-week low of $4.24 following the late August Supreme Court ruling and traded up about 39% Monday morning at $6.53. The 52-week high is $14.60 and the consensus 12-month price target is $7.98.
Silver futures traded at around $18 an ounce Monday morning, its highest level since mid-April, but well below a 12-month top around $21 an ounce.