Excellon suspends work at Mexico mine due to protests

Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:05pm EDT
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By David Alire Garcia

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Canada's Excellon Resources Inc halted operations at its La Platosa silver mine in Mexico due to a continuing protest by landowners and union members, the company said on Wednesday.

Protesters have blocked access to the mine in the northern state of Durango since Monday, following a contested vote on union representation last week.

The national miners union says Excellon is trying to impose another more company-friendly union on the workers, a claim the Toronto-based miner denies. Excellon has also struggled in the past with local landowners who want a new water treatment plant and other concessions.

Union members and the land holders have joined forces to block the entrance to the mine, which produced 1.3 million ounces of silver in 2011.

Excellon, which also owns the Miguel Auza mill in Zacatecas state, said the action is illegal and filed criminal charges against all groups participating in the protest.

The company expects the dispute to be resolved within the next 24 to 48 hours.

The miners union, however, said the conflict could drag on if there is no resolution to both the labor and land disputes.

"It will stay closed until the company gives into the demands," said Jorge Mora, head of the local union section, adding the blockade could last for months or even years.   Continued...