Goldcorp's announcement Wednesday that it is suspending operations at its Los Filos mine is a belated and misleading admission.
It is true that work at the mine in Guerrero, Mexico stopped -- early Tuesday morning -- after Goldcorp failed to reach agreement with the local community, the Ejido Carrizalillo*, with whom it had a land-use contract.
But the mine did not stop on the company's volition.
Rather, after talks broke down Monday night, the Ejido Carrizalillo announced an indefinite strike outside the mine starting early Tuesday until the company seriously addresses their concerns.
They stated that they would "suspend mine operations until the company demonstrates greater disposition to negotiate or -- failing that -- demand that it begin to close the mine according to Mexican law to reduce the environmental and health damages that have occurred." They requested the presence of Mr. Horacio Bruna, Vice President of Goldcorp's Mexican Operations, at the blockade in order to proceed with talks.
The full text of the Ejido's communiqué can be read here.
In the flurry of news that has been coming out of the Mexican press, representatives of the Ejido emphasize concerns they have about the long-term environmental and health costs of Goldcorp's highly profitable open-pit gold and silver operation located a mere kilometre from their community.
The same article cites complaints about water supplies contaminated with arsenic, water shortages, premature births and malformations in newborns. Loss of agricultural land and lack of a closure plan for the mine are also mentioned.
Julio Peña fears his community will become a ghost town.
Goldcorp's response that negotiations are tough given a slump in the gold market and slightly higher taxes in Mexico might be what the company’s investors want to hear, but this is not going to get the company any closer to a new contract when the Ejido Carrizalillo is looking for recognition of the long-term health and environmental costs they have to bear well after the company is gone.
*An ejido is a social and territorial unit governed by a General Assembly that administers, regulates, and makes decisions over its territory and natural goods found above the surface. Until the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, it was not possible for ejido land to be parcelled off or sold.
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.