Mexican authorities ruled that an area known as El Bajío or La Franjita, in the northwestern state of Sonora, belongs to Minera Penmont, a subsidiary of Mexico-focused precious metals miner Fresnillo (LON:FRES).
The area is in the proximity of the Soledad-Dipolo open-pit gold mine.
“Minera Penmont reiterates that the property belongs to the company, that it has never been community land and that it has never been part of the community of El Bajío,” the miner said in a statement reproduced by local media, where it also thanked Mexican authorities for acting in accordance with the law.
A segment of the land occupied by Penmont was in dispute as a group of five community members have launched a series of legal actions since 2009 arguing it was part of the town of El Bajío.
However, the company said that the terrains that are actually part of the community were clearly defined by a judge back in 2013 and that the concession area that its mine occupies was legally obtained.
“The land in dispute encompassed a portion of surface area where part of the operations of the Soledad-Dipolos mine are located. The litigation resulted in a definitive court order, pursuant to which Penmont was ordered to vacate 1,824 hectares of land. The disputed land was returned in July 2013, resulting in the suspension of operations at Soledad-Dipolos,” Fresnillo’s annual review states.
Yet, following the recent court order, Penmont emphasized that the rest of the area is within the company’s boundaries. “Minera Penmont owns the mining concessions applicable to the area and any person that carries out mining activities there, is doing so illegally,” the communiqué reads.