La Platosa, Mexico
Synopsis: The local ejido (communal landholder association) filed a suit against the company for illegally occupying its lands. There were also strong concerns about the quality and supply of water in the area, which depends on irrigation for its agriculture. The community blockaded the mine’s operations in 2007. In 2011 mine workers alleged that the company was undermining their collective rights, including the right to unionize. The conflict involving Excellon was brought before Canada’s CSR counselor but the company withdrew from the proceedings.
On July 10th, 2012 a group composed of ejidatarios and union workers blockaded the access to the mine. Their stated reasons for doing so were: [a] the failure of the company to honour an April 2008 agreement in which the company would build a waste water treatment plant, provide revenue from shares, fund educational bursaries amongst other clauses and [b] alleged acts of intimidation and deception during a recent vote on union membership. In response to the occupation of the project, the company declared its decision to suspend mining operations and press charges against the ejidatarios, union members and the Mexican NGO ProDesc. The company further argues that it was not able to provide water to the community because the ejidatarios do not hold the requisite water permits from Mexico’s water board (CNA).
Back in Canada a team of legal scholars and their students from Osgoode Hall filed a complaint before the Ontario Securities Commission in July of 2012. The team alleges that Excellon Resources did not provide full disclosure of events in Mexico to its investors. The company denied this in a brief communiqué.
In August, 2012, talks between the company and the ejido were convened before state and federal authorities in Mexico City. These broke down when the company’s officers left the table, citing the failure of the ejidatarios to lift their blockade.
Closing report of Canada’s Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor, Marketa Evans, October, 2011 [here].
MiningWatch Canada’s analysis of accountability and the CSR counsellor’s office, March 2011 [here].
Mexican labour and environmental rights organization, ProDesc’s response to the breakdown of talks between the company and the ejido in August, 2011 [here]