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Mexican miners reach deal with Canadian company, go back to work

Morelos gold property. Photo by Torex Gold Resources

Following a 40-day stoppage, employees of Minera Media Luna who work at El Limón-Guajes site in the Mexican state of Guerrero are going back to work.

Minera Media Luna is Canada’s Torex Gold Resources (TSX:TXG) wholly-owned subsidiary in the Latin American country. It operates the El Limón-Guajes project, one of the richest open-pit gold deposits in Mexico at a resource grade of 2.65 g/t.

Starting on November 6, 2017, some three dozen workers blocked the entrance of the mine near the town of Real de Limón, demanding the right to join the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Allied Workers of the Mexican Republic, known as Los Mineros. The problem was that Media Luna had already signed an agreement with a different union.

To resolve the issue, the company organized a series of meetings with Los Mineros and a consultation process, which was supervised by a team of notary publics. According to a press release issued by Torex, following this consultation process, 274 of the 520 people eligible to participate agreed upon aborting the strike.

In a previous statement, the Toronto-based miner gave the workers until December 15 to make a decision. If an agreement was not reached by the deadline and if the blockade was not lifted, the company said it was not going to be able to pay local employees’ salaries.

The negotiation process with the union continues, though. It is now being dealt with at a Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Board, where workers and unions, together with Torex’s attorney, hold conversations to eventually reach an agreement without affecting activities at the mine.

An upcoming meeting to be held at the board on January 30,2018, should set up the foundations for a new consultation in which workers will decide which union ends up managing their collective agreement.

However, in today’s media statement, the Canadian miner expressed concerns about the proposed encounter. “The Los Mineros union that started the illegal blockade, and submitted the paperwork to start the legal union selection process, now appears uncomfortable with the process. On December 13th, they asked for a delay until January 30, 2018, of the decision to establish a vote date. Apparently, they are oblivious to the fact that this delay negatively affects thousands of workers and their families, unless the blockade is lifted immediately and the union selection vote proceeds as a separate process,” the company stated.