August 30, 2012 / 5:43 PM / 6 years ago

Excellon regains access to Mexico mine after blockade

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Canada’s Excellon Resources Inc (EXN.TO) said on Thursday it had regained access to its Mexican silver mine following a nearly two-month blockade, but striking miners vowed to block access once more unless the company meets their demands by next week.

The company’s shares, which have lost 38 percent of their value since the blockade began, were trading up 9 percent at 37.5 Canadian cents on Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The firm’s comments come a day after Mexican police, soldiers and some miners breached a picket line at the La Platosa mine, which provides jobs to 250 locals in the state of Durango and produced 1.3 million ounces of silver last year.

“Early yesterday morning, a combined group of state and federal authorities peacefully reopened access to the mine site via the new access,” the company said in a statement.

Nonetheless, the miners involved in the strike said they were willing to continue their protest.

“If they don’t come to negotiate by Wednesday, we will definitely close the mine and won’t let a soul in,” said Jorge Mora, who heads one of the local mining unions.

There were currently 15 miners from an opposing union down the mine, while 54 striking miners remained outside, Mora added.

The strike began on July 8 when the national miners union said Excellon was trying to impose a more company-friendly union on the workers - a claim that Excellon denied. Land holders, angered by perceived broken promises by the Canadian company, joined forces with the miners, blocking access.

Excellon on Thursday said it gained access to the mine through an alternate route, escorted by a group of local women who were affected by the blockade.

The company said essential services at the mine, including pumping operations were maintained throughout the blockade.

Excellon also said if the strikers interfere with the escort provided by the women, the mine will be put on full care and maintenance indefinitely.

Reporting by Krithika Krishnamurthy in Bangalore and Gabriel Stargardter in Mexico City; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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