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Landowners Blockade Excellon Resources' Platosa Mine in Durango, Mexico After Company Fails to Respond to Demands

Source: 
ProDESC (Proyecto de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales)

After cutting off a round of negotiations with the community Ejido La Sierrita, Excellon de México, S.A. de C.V., a subsidiary of Excellon Resources, Inc., has refused to continue dialogue with the community to renegotiate its 2004 rental contract, which the Ejido insists is illegal. On January 14, 2007, members of the General Assembly of the Ejido stopped operations at the mine by blocking access roads situated on their own lands.

The attached news releases, from the Mexican human rights organisation ProDesc (Proyecto de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales), which is representing the ejidatarios, document recent developments.

The letter below explains the community's position:

January 16, 2008

Richard W. Brissenden, CA
President and Chief Executive Officer

Peter A. Crossgrove
Chairman of the Board

Excellon Resources Inc.
Suite 915, 20 Adelaide Street East,
Toronto, ON M5C 2T6
Tel: 416 364 1130
Fax: 416 364 6745

Sent via facsimile

Re: Ejido “La Sierrita”, Tlahualilo, Durango, México

Dear Sirs:

We are writing to express our disappointment in your recent corporate update dated January 16, 2008. The update reflects a lack of understanding of the situation on the ground at the La Platosa mine in Durango, México.

First, the peaceful protesters that are restricting access to the Platosa mine consist of 80 individuals, all of whom are members of the General Assembly of the Ejido and their families. We initiated the protest because of your company’s recent retraction from the negotiation process reflected in your letter sent to the General Assembly on January 11, 2008. In that letter you informed us that you would not be attending the meeting planned two days afterward on January 13, 2008.

Secondly, your letter states that “The Company has been negotiating with La Sierrita in good faith for months…” In fact, you only sat at the negotiation table after several months of requests by our General Assembly and pressure from several human rights organizations. After sitting down at the table for barely two months, you have once again cut off dialogue with the community. Your representatives, furthermore, have not treated us with good faith and with an utter lack of respect.

Finally, your update states that the Ejido is “an agricultural co-operative, in which individual members of the Ejido have the rights to use and/or cultivate specific portions of the lands owned by the Ejido.” We, as the General Assembly of the Ejido are, in fact, the proper owners of the land on which the disputed portion of your mine is situated. We do not merely have rights to the land, as you indicate. The agreement you reached with us in 2004 was ultimately a rental agreement for this land. Therefore, we continue to be the proper landowners of the land. The rental agreement was entered into without full consent and under bad faith. We are asking for a full renegotiation of that contract with the social clauses that we presented to your company in our previous communications. These clauses would be implemented over a period of years. In the fiscal year ending July 31, 2007, your company received over $9 million USD in net income. We feel that the contract we are requesting is well within your financial capacity.

We ask that you send representatives to negotiate with us in person at the entrance to the mine. We have also asked government officials to attend the meeting as neutral observers and arbiters. We look forward to the quick resolution of this dispute that will result in a beneficial agreement for both parties.

In representation of the General Assembly of Ejidatarios,

Martin Pacheco Maciel
President of the Ejidal Commission of La Sierrita

Alejandra Ancheita Pagaza
Executive Director/Attorney
Proyecto de los Derechos Económicos Sociales y Culturales

Dora Alicia Ramirez Soto
Secretary of the Ejidal Commission of La Sierrita

Evaristo Pacheco Maciel
Treasurer of the Ejidal Commission of La Sierrita

cc:
Matthew Loken
Human Rights Office
Canadian Embassy in Mexico
Schiller No. 529 Col. Polanco 11560 México, D.F., México (Rincón del Bosque)

Jamie Kneen
Latin America Program
MiningWatch Canada
Ste 508 250 City Centre Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1R 6K7