(Ejido La Sierrita, Durango, Mexico) On June 27, 2012, ejidatarios (communal landowners) of the Ejido 'La Sierrita' finished their second meeting with Excellon Resources to revise several non-compliance matters in the land rental contract with the mining company.
The two sides met on June 12 and June 27. In these meetings, the Ejido has insisted that the company rectify its failure to fulfill commitments to provide concessions for services in the mine to the Ejido and build a water treatment plant for agricultural use. The Ejido is also insisting that the company modify distinct parts of the contract and implement a periodic revision to ensure compliance in the future. “That is the least the company can do for conducting unauthorized explorations on our land outside the realm of the scope of the rental agreement,” said David Espinoza, President of the General Assembly of the Ejido 'La Sierrita'.
The company sat down with the community on June 12 for a first roundtable discussion only after representatives from the Ejido paid the company a visit at its Annual Shareholder Meeting in Toronto, Ontario on May 31, 2012. In that meeting, the Ejido joined other disgruntled shareholders in demanding transparency from the company regarding their failure to uphold the rights of the community and to comply with a rental contract with the Ejido that contains several unfulfilled social development clauses. Four days later, the company's CEO resigned amid the scandal. During that visit, the community also submitted complaints to the Canadian and Mexican government regarding violations by Excellon of the Organization of Economic and Social Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
In the roundtable discussions of June 12 and 27, the company admitted that it violated the contract and that, as a result of its violation, the Ejido can revoke the agreement. Nonetheless, company representatives have insisted in their talks that they are not willing to review the Ejido's offer to resolve this violation. Company representatives accepted that failure to comply with this clause would be be the inability to continue operating mine operations on the community's land.
“Though the company has agreed to a few concessions, they are unwilling to address the community's main concerns that would cost them money. Excellon is not even agreeing to deal with its failure to comply with commitments that it already made. This does not bode well for successful resolution of this problem,” said Evaristo Pacheco, treasurer of the General Assembly.
“We have planned to meet again on July 6, 2012. We hope the company will come with concrete responses to our proposals and that we can continue working together,” said Mr. Espinoza.
- Alejandra Ancheita, ProDESC (Proyecto de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales en México) (tel) +55-5212-2230, alejandra(at)prodesc.org.mx