Labour conflict at Torex mine in Mexico cools off

Canada’s Torex Gold Resources (TSX: TXG) announced that, following last week’s negotiations that put an end to a five-month blockade at its El Limón-Guajes mine, today it received a notification stating that the union in conflict had withdrawn its case before Mexico’s Federal Labour Board.

Los Mineros Union, led by expat in Vancouver Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, had been fighting since November 3, 2017, to be the legally constituted union for the union-eligible ELG Mine Complex employees. According to its representatives, Torex had unilaterally decided which union would advocate for workers, as opposed to letting them choose for themselves, accusations that the company denies.

Following months of protests, blockades, and contract suspensions, both parties tried negotiating before the Labour Board with the idea of setting the foundations for a consultation in which workers would have to decide which union would end up managing their contracts. However, since Los Mineros dropped its case, the company says there is no longer a choice to be made and, thus, the government-sanctioned union selection process is off the table.

“Enough has already been said about the disruption caused by this union representation challenge and associated illegal blockade,” the firm’s President and CEO, Fred Stanford, said in a media statement. “Torex has always supported the legally sanctioned, democratic union selection process. We see this Los Mineros Union withdrawal from the union selection process as a tacit acknowledgment that the incumbent CTM Union has the support of the majority of union eligible employees,” he added.

The CTM union, which stands for Confederation of Mexican Workers in Spanish, joined forces back in January with the community of Nuevo Balsas and Torex management to re-establish plant access through a road used during construction and gradually restart operations at the mine, located in the state of Guerrero and considered one of the richest open-pit gold deposits in Mexico.

Since then, processing operations have continued uninterrupted, while mining at the El Limón Pit resumed last week. Despite the slowdown, the Toronto-based company said that during the first quarter, its team was able to produce 67,000 ounces of gold in Dore and ship 8000 gold ounces in carbon fines.

For 2018, Torex expects to complete the ramp-up of operations at the site, a process that last year allowed it to pour 241,000 ounces and sell 244,800 ounces of the yellow metal.