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6 Nov 2020

Mining Watch Canada

Organizations Urge British Columbia Pension Fund to Press Equinox Gold to Respect Community and Commitments at Mine in Guerrero, Mexico

...The organizations urge the fund to engage Equinox in dialogue over breaches in key provisions in its social cooperation agreement with the community of Carrizalillo in Guerrero, México, on whose land the company’s flagship Los Filos mine is principally located. Violations of the agreement led the community to act upon their rights in that same agreement and shut down the mine for over 60 days and counting. Key issues include the provision of clean water, medication, educational scholarships, jobs and contracts, as well as company management’s discriminatory and racist treatment of the community as it seeks to resolve these matters through dialogue. Notably, since the Los Filos mine went into operation in 2008, the communities’ sources of water have been dried up or contaminated with arsenic and other heavy metals. 

The letter highlights significant and serious concerns for community safety, health and economic well-being, stating: “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”, putting people at grave risk of legal persecution and violence, which is all too common at mine sites in Mexico.

The community strike now far surpasses the last shutdown at Los Filos in April 2014, which lasted 33 days after Goldcorp failed to reach a new land use agreement with the community. Equinox requires access to Carrizalillo’s lands in order to operate the Los Filos mine and has no rightful or legal way to operate without their agreement...