(Toronto) On July 12, 2012, the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP) submitted a request to the Ontario Securities Commission to investigate junior mineral resource company Excellon Resources, Inc., which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. JCAP represents the Proyecto de Derechos Económicos Sociales y Culturales, A.C. (ProDESC) in this matter. The request suggests that Excellon may have breached the Ontario Securities Act disclosure requirements, which obligate companies to disclose the nature and substance of material changes forthwith.
The company has been the subject of a simmering community and labour conflict over the last year. The mine is located on land leased from the community. Community leaders have said that breaches of the land lease agreement are serious enough to rescind the contract. In particular, they are concerned that the mine is discharging water that could damage their land, while failing to honour its commitment to build a water treatment plant. If the agreement is rescinded, Excellon will cease to have a right to access the mine site. On July 8, 2012, members of the Ejido La Sierrita community blocked access to the mine after the company cancelled a negotiation meeting on two days notice.
In the last year, the company's only statement regarding problems with the community came three days after the blockade started on July 8, 2012. Even then, the press release stated that it would be filing criminal charges against community members without mentioning that the dispute was over continued access to the land on which the mine was located.
“There is a strong precedent from the Ontario Securities Commission, stating that access to land on which a mine is located is material and should be disclosed,” said JCAP’s lawyer, Shin Imai. “In this case, almost all of Excellon’s revenue is from the mine, and our position is that a threat to the continued operation of the mine should have been disclosed forthwith.”
The simmering conflict at La Platosa has also prompted the Canadian Labour Congress to write a letter to Excellon’s principal shareholder expressing concern about the company’s failure to provide key information to shareholders regarding the nature of conflicts with the Ejido.
Excellon was previously criticized by the federal government’s Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Counsellor for failing to agree to a structured dialogue with workers at the mine. In April 2011, the CSR Counsellor was asked by ProDESC and members of a union to approach Excellon to resolve outstanding labour issues. After going to the mine site at the insistence of Excellon, the Counsellor contacted the company twelve times to set up a follow up meeting, but was unsuccessful. Then, on September 19, 2011, the company sent her an email suddenly withdrawing from the process. The CSR Counsellor noted in her final report that Excellon’s withdrawal represented a “significant missed opportunity for the company to meet its stated interests of building relationships and reputation with Mexican stakeholders.”
- Shin Imai, Justice and Corporate Accountability Project, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University (tel) 647-524-2312
- Alejandra Ancheita, ProDESC (Proyecto de Derechos Humanos, Económicos, Sociales y Culturales), (tel) +55-5212-2230, +55-5212-2229, +55-3334-6045, alejandra(at)prodesc.org.mx