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8 Sep 2020

Mexico News Daily

Community breaks off talks with operator of Guerrero gold mine

…Members of the Carrizalillo ejido in Eduardo Neri, Guerrero, have broken off talks with the Canadian miner Equinox Gold, accusing the company of racist practices and incompliance with a contract signed in 2019.

A work stoppage began on September 3 at the Los Filos mine, one of the largest open-pit gold mines in the world.

The ejido (communal landowners’ collective) alleges that 70% of the terms of its six-year contract with Equinox were not being fulfilled and has refused to allow any of the 1,500 workers, the majority of whom are not local residents, to enter the mine. Members of the collective have set up camp at the mine’s two entrances in protest…

On Monday, an ejido member who requested anonymity said that a meeting was held with Equinox vice president Peter Burger in which the ejido asked for and obtained the resignation of deputy director of mining operations Juan Carlos Flores Cano, but both sides hit an impasse…

Members of the cooperative vowed that they would no longer sign multiple-year contracts such as the six-year contract being disputed with Equinox, and that from now on the terms would be for just one year.

Carrizalillo has been renting its lands to open-pit mining for 13 years but with detrimental environmental effects, according to a study. Part of the contract with Equinox Gold was the establishment of a safe supply of drinking water, but the arsenic content in their current water supply has caused serious skin disease, residents claim.