Canadian silver producer denounces harassment, violence from illegal miners in Mexico
Vancouver-based Great Panther Silver Ltd. (TSX:GPR) said Wednesday an illegal miner was killed in a clash with guards at its silver mine in Guanajuato, central Mexico.
Robert Archer, President and CEO of Great Panther said illegal miners have been entering the mine “by force and with weapons.” For that reason, he added, the firm was forced to hire an armed security force.
“We initially took a non-confrontational approach to keep the illegal miners out (…) Regrettably, there was an altercation with intruders in one of our mines [Tuesday] night that resulted in the death of an illegal miner. In addition, a group of people attacked and vandalized some of the mine offices and vehicles,” he said in the statement.
None of the company's employees or contractors was injured.
Thieves and illegal miners steal small quantities of rich ore, but also put the mines' employees and themselves at risk in the underground labyrinth of tunnels, the firm said.
Guanajuato is next to Michoacán state, where drug cartels have began tapping into illegal mining as a fresh source of revenue (see map below). However, there was no immediate indication of any cartel involvement in the Guanajuato case.