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Equinox Gold’s Los Filos mine hit by blockade

The Los Filos mine’s reputation has been tainted by a history of disagreements with landowners. (Image courtesy of Equinox Gold.)

Operations at Equinox Gold’s (TSX, NYSE-A: EQX) Los Filos mine in Mexico have been suspended as the result of a blockade by members of the nearby Mezcala community, the company said on Thursday.

The move, qualified by the Canadian miner as “illegal” is preventing the delivery of certain supplies that are required to maintain Los Filos running, it said.

Equinox will engage with community leadership to find a solution that allows it to resume full operations.

Los Filos has been frequently hit by community and union protests over the past two years, including a two-month long blockade by members of the Carrizalillo community, which affected the company’s 2020 production and cost guidance.

There are three ejidos, or areas of communal land used for agriculture, associated with the Los Filos property. This is the first time the Mezcala ejido has blocked access to and from the site.

Last year, troubles were caused mostly by a group of unionized employees and members of the Xochipala community demanding higher payments from Equinox.

The Los Filos complex began commercial production in 2008. The operation consists of two large open pits (Los Filos and Bermejal) and one underground mine. 

This year the mine is expected to produce between 155,000 and 170,000 ounces of gold, accounting for 37% of Equinox Gold’s mining net asset value and 28% of its 2022 production estimate.

The Vancouver-based company also has mining assets in the US, Brazil and Canada.