Approximately 12,000 residents live in the San Rafael las Flores municipality in Santa Rosa, Guatemala, home of Tahoe’s Guatemalan subsidiary, Minera San Rafael (MSR). The rural municipality is home to banks, restaurants, hotels, hardware stores and MSR’s community office, among other businesses and community interests.
Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., MSR’s community office is open to interact/engage with its employees, contractors and local residents. The community office provides local stakeholders with an additional resource to express concerns and to receive information about MSR. In 2015, 750 individuals visited the community office. Stakeholders communicate their inquiries through telephones and computers at the office, but the majority prefer to speak in person with the office manager, Rosa Loy. “When people come to the office to express a concern, I listen intently and let them know that their opinion is important. As a result, they are more comfortable discussing difficult topics. I also communicate to stakeholders that MSR will work to the best of its abilities to resolve issues,” said Rosa.
After an individual expresses his/her concern or inquiry to Rosa, the information is uploaded to MSR’s grievance mechanism system Tú Cuentas, which is software that allows MSR to better engage with stakeholders. This way, MSR and the stakeholder can track the status of the inquiry or issue from day one to resolution. MSR responds to and/or resolves each inquiry or issue efficiently and to the fullest extent possible. (To learn more about the grievance mechanism process, check out the blog post here.) In 2015, MSR responded to and/or resolved 81 of 103 cases in the grievance mechanism system. More than half of the cases were responded to and/or resolved within 45 days. The majority of cases related to job inquiries, requests for social investments and concerns regarding mining activities, such as noise and vibration issues.
MSR continues to improve its processes in order to decrease the number of concerns and to resolve cases more efficiently. As for Rosa, she remains committed to her same engagement philosophy since the community office’s inception. “I treat every person who walks through our doors with respect, and each issue or inquiry is handled with discretion. I want our local residents and employees to leave the office with confidence in MSR’s grievance mechanism process,” said Rosa.