Close to 100 soldiers and officers of the Mexican Army and Federal and state police agencies broke through a peaceful protest taking place in front of the La Platosa mine, owned by a subsidiary of Canadian Excellon Resources, Inc. (TSX:EXN), according to a news flash by Mining Watch.
Since early July, about 70 community members — a group of landowners known as Ejido La Sierrita — had camped out on the property to demonstrate against what they see as repeated breaches of contract by Excellon. Two days later, Excellon’s CFO Steve Poad quit.
The blockade has halted production at the company’s only revenue-generating silver, zinc and lead asset and forced the company to declare force majeure earlier this month.
Since the protest began almost two months ago, the Ejido has made several attempts to negotiate with the company with the support of federal and state government representatives, says Mining Watch.
According to the press release, the last meeting took place on August 13 in Mexico City, in which Excellon representatives allegedly walked away from the table in the first five minutes claiming that they would not negotiate until the blockade was lifted.
The community members claim Excellon has failed to comply with the terms of a contract, signed five years ago, in which the company agreed to build a water treatment plant and offer preferential hiring. They also claim violations of certain rights, such as the freedom of association, according to local newspaper Vanguardia.
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and the Durango State Human Rights Commission are investigating the matter and have insisted that the Mexican government ensure the safety and freedom of the protestors, says Mining Watch.
Photo: Protestors camping outside La Platosa, Mexico. Courtesy of Prodesc.