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NGO Rejoinder

25 Sep 2020

Ejido of Carrizalillo rejoinder

...The Ejido of Carrizalillo is grateful for the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre’s attention to our case and greatly value the actions of your collective, which help to provide visibility to diverse struggles that communities are facing. In this regard, we would like to make several clarifications concerning the content of Equinox Gold’s letter, concerning the issues we are facing. The mine is currently shut down over breaches in the social-cooperation contract that the company had with our ejido, and that is now cancelled, following a lengthy effort starting three months ago to reach agreement over violations in the agreement.

The mine is operating with minimal personnel because the ejido agreed via its community assembly that it would be irresponsible on our part to cause an environmental accident, given the large quantity of ore in process of leaching with sodium-cyanide that, if it were to spill for lack of maintenance or operation of the pumps, would be catastrophic. The ejido believed that it is important to ensure the presence of specialized workers in this area of the mine operations because the company is not permitted to enter onto our lands as a result of the breaches that led us to cancel our contract and, as a result, take back control of our lands.

We would like to point out that, in response to the current “conflict”, our shut down of the mine is completely legal according to Mexican agrarian law, which establishes that the lands (where the mine installations are located) are collective property, such that we can regain control over them when the company does not abide by its contract with us. In this case, the conflict concerns our social-cooperation agreement and not the land use agreement. In the agreement, it clearly lays out that, when even one clause is violated, the ejido is within their right to take such action until the conflict is resolved. We are talking about breaches of 70% of the clauses in the agreement, including issues such as ensuring potable water and irregularities and lack of transparency in the provision of basic medical supplies for our primary health care clinic...