January 17, 2024, Zug, Switzerland. The Guatemalan subsidiaries of Solway Investment Group, a Swiss-based global mining concern, were removed from the United States Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) sanctions list today. COMPANIA GUATEMALTECA DE NIQUEL (CGN) and COMPANIA PROCESADORA DE NIQUEL DE IZABAL, S.A. (PRONICO), the two nickel mining entities based in Guatemala were sanctioned on November 18, 2022 under the Global Magnitsky Act.
Fourteen months later, the subsidiaries have been officially removed by OFAC from its sanctions list, which is commonly called the “SDN List.” See: Global Magnitsky Designation and Designations Removals; Issuance of Counter Terrorism General Licenses | Office of Foreign Assets Control (treasury.gov)
Following their removal from the SDN list, CGN and Pronico are now free to resume business without any restrictions. Both companies will strive to work closely with President Arévalo and his new administration in all respects, but particularly in regard to local and 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 export permits needed to resume operations and rehire the more than 1,000 workers employed by both companies.
Independent Monitor and Anti-corruption Program and Location of Ownership in US
Solway has committed to a broad anti-corruption program, including the appointment of an independent monitor and to shift ownership of its two Guatemalan subsidiaries to the US to ensure that the two companies are subject to US 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.
In the last 14 months Solway has implemented wide-ranging reforms, seeking to improve transparency and accountability and improved communications and consultations with Indigenous and local communities. Solway has put in place a grievance mechanism to enable complaints by affected stakeholders concerning human rights or other unintended adverse impacts to be properly considered. Solway also adopted a robust Сode of Conduct and comprehensive Human Rights Policy. In accordance with that policy and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Solway affirms its respect for human rights, including the fundamental rights to freedom of association and expression and repudiates any past instances of any such abuses as alleged and still under investigation.
Solway CEO Dan Bronstein stated: “Solway’s Guatemalan subsidiaries create thousands of direct and indirect jobs in Guatemala and produce nickel which is essential for construction and energy transition. We are delighted that we can now dedicate our energy to restart operations and bring back employment, social security and economic development to our host communities. And we are proud to do so whilst meeting world-class standards for compliance and transparency, and with the utmost respect for environmental, humanitarian and indigenous rights”.
In mid-December 2023, Solway publicly supported the decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights supporting the decision in favor of the Agua Caliente community in protecting its lands, involving events and actions prior to Solway’s acquisition of the two companies. See here.
Solway is also implementing broad policies to continue to ensure a fully compliant and ethical business operation and to be recognized as a global corporate citizen with integrity and a commitment to sustainability.
“Solway thanks the US government, and especially OFAC for their professionalism throughout the process,” said Denis Gerasev, Chief Counsel of the company. “We thank the many professionals who assisted them to get to this successful outcome, such as the legal team of Seiden Law LLP and Berliner Corcoran & Rowe and other professionals for their efforts.”