Blog Entry

URGENT ACTION: Protest camp at Excellon Resources' La Platosa mine violently destroyed

Jen Moore

Latin America Program Coordinator / Coordinadora del programa para América Latina, 2010-2018.

(La Sierrita camp, Durango, Mexico) At 6:30 am this morning, around 180 members of the Mining Union Don Napoleón Gómez Sada (Gómez Sada Union) violently destroyed the peaceful camp which landowners of the Ejido La Sierrita and workers from the Local 309 of the National Mining Union have maintained outside the La Platosa mine for the last three months. The mine is owned and operated by a subsidiary of Canadian mining company Excellon Resources.

The members of the Gómez Sada Union arrived in six buses, including a bus adorned with the logo of Excellon Resources. They were armed with sticks and rocks. The large majority of Gómez Sada Union members present were not workers in the Excellon mine but arrived from the neighboring state Zacatecas.

Robert Moore, Chief Operating Officer of Excellon Resources, directly participated in the violent action against the landowners, pulling down the fence that the landowners had set up to protect their camp. Through this breach in the fence, several members of the Gómez Sada Union moved in with heavy machinery.

The Gómez Sada Union members immediately began to destroy and burn down the protesters’ temporary housing. Several members of this group threatened the landowners stating, “We have orders to remove you, even if there is violence or death, just as happened in Coahuila.”

A municipal police truck was present at the site but did nothing to stop the Gómez Sada Union’s violent acts. Throughout the morning, three trucks with military and federal police officers also arrived at the scene but did not intervene. Yesterday, the municipal police of Mapimí, where the mine is located, threatened the landowners that they would forcefully remove them this Thursday.

The landowners and workers in the camp reacted peacefully. At this moment the aggressors have surrounded the landowners without letting them leave the location. This act of violence is one of many that have occurred in the last three months. The Federal and State governments are aware of the situation but have not taken sufficient measures to secure the physical integrity and lives of the landowners and workers in the protest camp.

This recent repression by the company, in collusion with the federal, state and municipal governments, violates the rights of the protestors to defend their human rights as established in articles, 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12 and 13 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and Article 6 of the Mexican Constitution. Furthermore, the right to land and control of land of the landowners is established in Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution and Article 100 of the Agrarian Law. Similarly, the company is violating the right to freedom of association of the workers in the Local 309 established in Article 123, Section XVI of Chapter A of the Mexican Constitution. Finally, the company fails to comply with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the United Nations Guiding Principles of Business and Human Rights.

We call for support in urging the Mexican government to comply with its obligation to respect and guarantee the human rights of the landowners of La Sierrita, workers of the Local 309 and the members of ProDESC in the following manner:

  1. Immediate measures to guarantee the security and physical integrity of the ejidatarios and workers that are living in the peaceful camp in front of the La Platosa mine.
  2. A guarantee that the ejidatarios of La Sierrita, the workers of the Local 309 and the members of ProDESC will be able to exercise their legitimate right to protest Excellon's noncompliance with the Ejido’s land rental contract and the workers’ right to freedom of association.
  3. The immediate removal of third-party actors unrelated to the conflict to avoid continued acts of repression against the landowners and workers of the Local 309.

Please send requests to the following authorities immediately:

Lic. Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente Constitucional de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Residencial Oficial de Los Pinos, Casa Miguel Alemán, Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C. P. 11850, D. F.
Email: [email protected]

Lic. Jorge Herrera Caldera
Gobernador Constitucional Del Estado De Durango
5 de Febrero 800 Poniente, Col. Centro, Durango, Durango
Email: [email protected]
[email protected]

Dr. Alejandro Poiré Romero
Secretario de Gobernación
Bucareli 99, 1er. piso, Col. Juárez, México D.F., C.P.06600, México
Email: [email protected]

Dr. Raúl Plascencia Villanueva
Presidente de la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos
Edificio “Héctor Fix Zamudio”, Blvd. Adolfo
López Mateos 1922, 6° piso, Col. Tlacopac San Ángel, Del. Álvaro Obregón, C.P. 01040, México, D.F.
Email: [email protected]

Marisela Morales Ibáñez
Fiscal General de la República
Av. Paseo de la Reforma 211-213
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Del. Cuauhtémoc
México D.F., C.P. 06500
Email: [email protected]

Lic. Omeheira López Reyna
Unidad para la Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, SEGOB.
Email: [email protected]

Jaime Fernández Saracho
Secretario de Gobierno de Durango
Palacio de Gobierno, Planta Alta, 5 de Febrero esq.
Bruno  Martínez, Zona Centro, C. P. 34000,
Durango, Durango

Lic. Felipe de Jesús Martínez Rodarte
Presidente de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Estado de Durango
Cerro Gordo No 32, 2do Piso, Fracc. Lomas del Parque, Durango, Durango
Email: [email protected]

Peter Crossgrove
Executive Chairman & Intercim CEO
20 Victoria Street, Suite 900
Toronto, Canadá
Tel. 4163641130
Fax 4163646745
Email: [email protected]
[email protected]

The Embassy of Canada
Calle Schiller no. 529, Colonia Bosque de Chapultepec, Polanco
Mexico, D.F., Mexico 11580
[email protected]

For background about the ongoing dispute between Excellon Resources and the Ejido La Sierrita, visit here.