Blockade ignites temporary suspension at Peñasquito Mine

Newmont Goldcorp suspended its operations at the mine located in Zacatecas, as well as all its investments until the “illegal blockade” by a trucking contractor and members of the Cedros community is lifted

Blockade ignites temporary suspension at Peñasquito Mine
Newmont Goldcorp is the world’s biggest gold producer – Photo: Misael Valtierra/CUARTOSCURO
English 17/09/2019 15:30 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Kanishka Singh & Sandra Maler/REUTERS & Irma Mejía/EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 15:43
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On Sunday, transnational company Newmont Goldcorp said it has temporarily suspended operations at the Peñasquito gold mine in Mexico after the resumption of a previously lifted blockade by a trucking contractor and some members of the Cedros community.

“.... dialogue sponsored by the government of Mexico to resolve issues with a trucking contractor and the San Juan de Cedros community has been suspended and that an illegal blockade has resumed,” the company said in a statement, adding that its operations at the mine will remain suspended while the illegal blockade persists.

The company had resumed shipping concentrate from the Peñasquito gold mine in June after the blockade was lifted.

Operations at the mine were also temporarily suspended earlier this year as truck drivers blocked access to the mine and protesters said its operations caused a water supply to dry up.

The mine was part of the portfolio of Goldcorp, whose acquisition by Newmont was completed in April to form the world’s biggest gold producer.

The open-pit mine, in northern Zacatecas state, produced 272,000 ounces of gold in 2018 and directly employs over 6,500 people, as well as generating 20,000 indirect jobs in the region.

Newmont Goldcorp said that to “guarantee security of peoples, assets, and the feasibility on the long run of Peñasquito,” the company has temporarily suspended the operations while said blockade continues, and the company is willing to continue with “goodwill” dialogue, but not through “illegal blockades.”

Hence, Peñasquito will begin with personnel evacuation and only minimal care labors for equipment maintenance will continue, thus, payments to employees, unions, contractors, vendors, and communities, as well as trusts, productive projects, scholarships, and social investment programs will be suspended.

Newmont Goldcorp detailed that since 2005, they have invested approximately USD $5 billion in Peñasquito Mine, including USD $420 million for the pyrite leaching plant in 2017-2018.

For his part, governor of Zacatecas, Alejandro Tello Cristerna, informed that he will visit Mexico City on Wednesday to participate in the negotiating table between the parties of the conflict and the federal government.

It is worth mentioning that last weekend, negotiating tables were suspended, after 400 ejido members (ejido is a land in Mexico farmed communally under a system supported by the state) and carriers blocked the facilities of the mining company.

Alejandro Tello went to Mazapil to listen to the protesters, since the mining company started personnel evacuation and suspended all its investments.

Newmont Goldcorp said it will not submit to pressure that paralizes its operations, referring that blockades have taken place on several occasions and for years, since ejido members have resorted to these movements for different work-related reasons, as well as issues regarding drinking water in the region.

The governor said that the negotiating table is held by the Interior Ministry since it is a federal issue under mining laws, as well as by diverse environmental and working affairs that also involve federal agencies.

In his visit to Mazapil, Tello Cristerna offered them his representation before President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and to ask him to take action to solve the conflict, for which he has already made contact with Olga Sánchez Cordero and dialogue roundtables will begin in Mexico City.

The governor considers that, as in every conflict and relationship, dialogue must be exploited and both parties need to submit, hence, he said it is important to solve the conflict as soon as possible because it would have a serious economic and work impact for thousands of families in the entity.


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