[Note: As of October 5, the Ejido and the company have been in renewed negotiations. Thank you to all who wrote in!]
September 24 marks three weeks since the Ejido of Carrizalillo shut down the Los Filos gold mine in Guerrero, México over racist and discriminatory treatment as well as the operator's breaches of their social cooperation agreement. Instead of genuine efforts to achieve talks over a new agreement with the community, the operator, Equinox Gold, has resorted to provocation and intimidation.
On September 22, the company's Vice President of Sustainability and its Vice President for Mexico trespassed on Ejido land when they participated in a meeting with the State Attorney for Guerrero at offices located at a section of the Los Filos mine that is on land belonging to the Ejido of Carrizalillo. The operation was accompanied by 30 to 40 heavily-armed judicial police officers in seven or eight vehicles, most of whom were deployed in the community encampment where entire families have been staying while the meeting took place. The Ejido denounced the company and the government official – whose official responsibilities do not include mediating social conflicts – for trespassing and trying to provoke a violent confrontation with them. Fortunately, no violence occurred and after about four hours, the company and government representatives withdrew.
To date, Equinox Gold has only distanced itself further from reaching agreement with the Ejido of Carrizalillo over conditions that might lead to negotiations of a new social-cooperation agreement, including issues such as clean water and adequate medical supplies to alleviate the serious impacts that the community's land and health has suffered since the Los Filos mine started operating over ten years ago. The community rescinded its unprecedented six-year agreement (2019-2025) – the longest agreement the Ejido has ever signed with a mining company – when the company failed to respond immediately when the Ejido shut down the mine on September 3. Since then, Carrizalillo has been insisting that its encampment must remain in place until such time as significant advances are made in a new agreement in line with community expectations. The company has insisted that they must evacuate the encampment and let the mine start operating before it will consider talks. Meanwhile, the company's only public statement about the dispute distorts the facts and defames the community encampment as an “illegal road blockade”.
The Ejido of Carrizalillo has repeatedly expressed its openness to talk with the company, but that it will not do so under conditions of submission or imposition, rather only with respect and dignity. So far, Equinox Gold has continued to demonstrate its arrogance and disdain for the community, dangerously resorting to using its economic and political influence to try to find a political interlocutor that might forcibly bring the Ejido to the table. It is time for this to stop. If you haven’t already, please show your solidarity with Carrizalillo and use the online form below to send a letter of concern to the company and the Canadian Embassy in Mexico. And please share this urgent action!