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6 Nov 2020

Mining Watch Canada

Ref: BCI engagement with Equinox Gold over Los Filos mine in Mexico

...The British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI) holds shares in Equinox Gold, which we wish to inform you has failed to uphold the social cooperation agreement with Carrizalillo since it acquiring the Los Filos mine from Leagold in March, 2020. In this short period of time, Equinox has breached key provisions in the agreement related to issues such as the provision of clean water, medication, educational scholarships, jobs and contracts for equipment and machinery, among others, as well as having responded with discriminatory and racist treatment to community efforts to resolve these matters through dialogue.

After three months of seeking dialogue to resolve these issues, the community assembly of Carrizalillo exercised its right, as laid out in this same agreement, to peacefully shut down operations at the mine starting on September 3, 2020. Now, after over sixty days of keeping the mine shut down, the community continues to demand respect from Equinox and a process of negotiations over a new agreement that would guarantee that such breaches would not happen again. The company, instead of addressing the community’s requests, has been trying hard to discredit Carrizalillo at the state and federal levels, which heightens the risks the community already faces.

We do not understand why, instead of engaging promptly and in good faith, the company decided to adopt a dilatory, discriminatory and abusive stance, including to criminalize the community’s actions. On September 4, the company issued a public statement calling the community encampment an “illegal road blockade”. This and other actions based on lies that Mexican authorities have not accepted, and put community members at grave risk of legal persecution and violence, which is all too common at mine sites in Mexico...