Guatemalan government postpones mining reform proposal
GUATEMALA CITY, July 11 |
GUATEMALA CITY, July 11 (Reuters) - Guatemala's government said it will wait until next month to send a proposal to Congress to acquire as much as a 40 percent stake in new mining companies as part of a package of constitutional amendments.
Advisers to President Otto Perez said the delay will give officials time to assess feedback from those sectors that would be affected by the changes, which include judicial and legislative reforms.
The proposed mining clause has so far received more support than criticism, the advisers said.
"As of now it seems very probable that it will pass," Fernando Carrera, a presidential adviser who helped draft the reform, told Reuters. "Professionals from all sectors and select lawmakers are enthusiastic about it."
The constitutional changes, which will be presented to the legislature on Aug. 1 instead of July 16, require a two-thirds vote in the 158-member Congress where Perez's conservative Patriot Party holds 63 seats.
The government says it could win support from other smaller parties in the chamber.
The proposed mining clause says that "the state reserves the right to acquire up to 40 percent of all extraction businesses. The state will be able to become a shareholder in all companies that extract natural resources."
Officials have said that the changes would only apply to future mining projects and not those already operating in the country.
Officials also said that the government would have to purchase shares in a mining company in order to participate and that it would not nationalize mines. (Reporting By Mike McDonald; editing by Christopher Wilson)
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