OFAC lifts sanctions on Mayaniquel, CGN and Pronico 

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By Marco Echevarria

After the lifting of OFAC sanctions, Mayaniquel, CGN and Pronico reported that they hope to resume operations and reinstall workers in Guatemala.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). On Wednesday, January 17, the U.S. lifted the sanctions against the mining companies Mayaniquel, S.A., Compañía Guatemalteca de Niquel (CGN) and the Processing Company of Nickel de Izabal (Pronico), to whom in 2022 he linked to Solway Investment Group, a Russian company led by people who are pointed out for bribes.

On 18 November 2022, OFAC sanctioned Russian citizen Dmitry Kudryakov and Belarusian Iryna Litviniuk for allegedly leading multiple bribery schemes over several years, involving politicians, judges and government officials. Kudryakov was considered by Washington as the leader of Solway’s mining operations in Guatemala.

On the same day, OFAC also sanctioned CGN, Pronico and Mayaniquel, which, according to a statement of that date, OFAC mentioned that they were subsidiaries of Solway Investment Group, a Russian company that has operated Guatemalan mines since 2011.

After the sanction, Mayaniquel announced the suspension of her operations, indefinitely, a consequence of the erroneous designation – by OFAC.

On Wednesday, however, the three companies reported the lifting of sanctions by OFAC.

We are grateful for the actions taken today by OFAC, which fully rescind the sanctions imposed on Mayaniquel, said in a statement that company, which reiterates that this designation was wrong, so it now hopes to reactivate operations.

Today, OFAC has expressly acknowledged that Mayaniquel does not meet any criteria for such a sanction. As we have stated since December 2022, Mayaniquel is not and has never been a related entity, controlled, or owned by any of the individuals, companies or corporate groups mentioned in the OFAC statement, adds the company’s communication form.

According to Mayaniquel, during the period of suspension – for the sanction of OFAC, the operations of the company in Panzos, Alta Verapaz, have had commercial and financial damage, which we will face.

We hope to resume our operations, reinstall our collaborators in Guatemala and continue to support the development of their communities, concluded Mayaniquel’s communication.

In addition, the companies CGN and Pronico spoke out on this.

The Guatemalan subsidiaries of Solway Investment Group, a global mining company based in Switzerland, were removed today from the OFAC sanctions list. Guatemalteca de Niquel (CGN) and the Procesadora Company of Niquel De Izabal (Pronico), the two nickel mining entities based in Guatemala, were sanctioned on November 18, 2022 under the Global Magnitsky Law, says a statement.

The document adds that, after its removal from the list, CGN and Pronico can resume operations without restrictions.

Both companies will strive to work closely with President (Bernardo) Arévalo and his new administration in all respects, especially in relation to local indigenous communities, human rights and environmental concerns. They will work closely with the new Minister of Energy and Mining to obtain as soon as possible the export credentials necessary to resume operations and rehire the more than a thousand workers employed by both companies, details the statement.

In addition, he adds that Solway has committed to a comprehensive anti-corruption program, which includes the appointment of an independent monitor and the transfer of ownership from its two Guatemalan subsidiaries to the United States to ensure that the two companies are subject to U.S. laws and regulations. The new entity, which will become the owner of the two subsidiaries, has already been incorporated in the state of New York, and Solway intends to complete the formal transfer of the subsidiaries in the near future.

The statement includes statements by Dan Bronstein, CEO of Solway, who said: “The Guatemalan subsidiaries of Solway generate thousands of direct and indirect jobs in Guatemala and produce nickel, which is essential for construction and energy transition. We are delighted to be able to devote our energy now to restart operations and restoring employment, social security and economic development in the host communities. And we are proud to do so by meeting world-class standards in terms of compliance and transparency, and with the utmost respect for environmental, humanitarian and indigenous rights.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in Prensa Libre