On March 24 Salvador Garcia Ledesma, general operations director of the Mexican mining company Luismin, offered to pay the community of Nuevo Carrizalillo, Eduardo Neri municipality, in the southern state of Guerrero, an annual rent of 8,000 pesos (about $726) for each of the 900 hectares of land the company is mining for gold. Community residents, who along with some miners have blockaded the Los Filos-El Bermejal mines at various times since Jan. 8, rejected the offer, although it was more than eight times the payment the company originally committed to. The community is now holding out for 50,000 pesos ($4,538) a year for each hectare; in January they demanded 92,000 for each of 700 hectares. Garcia Ledesma says that Luismin, the Mexican mining division of the Vancouver-based Goldcorp Inc., has lost about $180,000 so far in the dispute. (La Jornada, March 25)
State and local police had forcibly removed the protesters on Jan. 25, and on Feb. 1 Luismin threatened to end its operations in Guerrero. But the protesters maintained their blockade, and on Feb. 23 the company agreed to renegotiate the payment based on an tassessment by the federal government’s Unitary Agrarian Court. The company also agreed to rehire 36 workers it had laid off in the dispute and pay them back wages, and to provide the community with a paved road, a computer center, a basketball court, a childcare center, scholarships for some of the children, and other benefits.
Miners and Nuevo Carrizalillo residents lifted their blockade of Luismin’s Los Filos mine on Feb. 24, but maintained their encampment near the mine so that they could resume the blockade if they were dissatisfied with the progress of the negotiations. They restarted the protest on March 6. Amnesty International is asking for letters to the Goldcorp Board of Directors (firstname.lastname@example.org), Guerrero governor Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo (email@example.com) and others calling on the authorities to facilitate negotiations and ensure that police not use violence against or arrest the protesters. (LJ, March 25; Notimex, March 23 via Televisa; Rights Action, March 22)
On Feb. 28 members of the Civil Resistance Movement Against the San Xavier Mine and representatives of various social organizations demonstrated for seven hours outside the Canadian embassy in Mexico to protest what they called the “illegal development” of gold and silver mining in the Cerro San Pedro in the northeastern state of San Luis Potosi. The protesters said that the open-cut mining, including the use of cyanide, just 5 km from the city of San Luis Potosi would create “the largest environmental disaster” in the state’s history. The mine is operated by the Canadian firm Metallica Resources Inc. The protesters didn’t block the entrances to the embassy, but Canadian officials decided that no one would leave the buildng during the protest. (LJ, March 1)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, March 25