Canadian silver company denies involvement in murder of Mexican activist

A Canadian company operating a silver mine in Mexico says it is not in any way linked to the recent murder of an anti-mining activist as alleged by human rights activists.

CTV News reports that Bernardo Vasquez, 32, was shot to death in his car in the state of Oaxaca and two others were injured by gunfire on March 15. Vasquez led a group opposed to Fortuna Silver's San Jose silver and gold mine and his supporters told CTV his death was linked to his activism, saying he received threats through videos posted online and graffiti sprayed throughout the village of San Jose del Progreso.

"We don't have any proof of who was the physical responsible person of Bernardo's assassination, but there are several videos and photographs from different events that occurred in San Jose in the past months that lead us to believe that it was an act of repression coming from the local authorities acting on behalf of the Canadian company," Mexican environmentalist Octavio Rosas Landa said.

Ganoza Durant, president of Fortuna Silver, told CTV the company is not linked in any way to the murder and that Fortuna is willing to cooperate with authorities in identifying who is responsible. Activists are calling for the company to pull out of Mexico and for an investigation to be launched.

Far from leaving the country, however, Fortuna Silver announced in January it is ramping up production at the San Jose mine to 1500 tonnes per day.