Americas’ New Approach to Lift San Rafael’s Illegal Blockade
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Americas’ New Approach to Lift San Rafael’s Illegal Blockade

Photo by:   Americas Gold and Silver Corporation
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Paloma Duran By Paloma Duran | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Wed, 03/24/2021 - 09:21

Americas Gold and Silver Corporation (Americas) published its 2020 financial results and operational updates, highlighting the company’s current situation at its Cosalá Operations in Sinaloa and the plans it has to resume production.

In a press release, Americas announced that in 2020, the company had a revenue of US$27.9 million and net loss of US$30.1 million. The company explained that 2020 records could not compare to 2019 due to the illegal blockade at Cosalá Operations, the suspension of operations during the implementation of the Galena Recapitalization Plan and the complicated situation at Relief Canyon.

“Last year was expected to be transformational for the company but was met by a series of unexpected challenges. However, I am confident that the success at the Galena Complex will continue as indicated by the most recent drill results. The illegal blockade at our Cosalá Operations will be resolved and Relief Canyon will reach full production following a difficult ramp-up period,” said President and CEO of Americas, Darren Blasutti, in a press release  

Cosalá Operations is in Sinaloa and comprises 67 mining concessions covering approximately 19,385ha, according to Americas. It includes the San Rafael mine where, since Jan. 26, the company’s mining operations have been illegally blocked by its union under the argument that the company must improve the working health conditions of its workers. However, on several occasions, Americas has explained that claims are based on false accusations and that the real objective of the group is to illegally obtain a collective agreement and other contracts related to mining activities, reported MBN.

Last week, President López Obrador announced that the concession of Americas can be revoked if it does not accept its new union representation. Additionally, López Obrador requested Marcelo Ebrard, Minister of Foreign Affairs (SRE), to contact the Canadian government to discuss this mining issue. “This should not be understood as a threat or warning. However, if they do not respect the law, the government can revoke the concession,” said López Obrador.

Americas responded that it has been a victim of extortion and organized crime, which has been disguised as a labor rights conflict. “In regards to comments made by the Mexican President on Mar. 17, 2020, while the reference to the company’s Cosalá Operations concessions is concerning, the company is confident that there is no basis in the facts or in the law that would diminish the company’s property rights,” Americas stated in a press release.

Americas also highlighted that since the beginning of 2021, the company and the Mexican federal government have had several meetings and discussions, in which Americas agreed on a framework to regain access and restart activities at Cosalá Operations. Currently, the company is awaiting action and support from the authorities to carry out this plan.

In addition, Americas published its first sustainability report for Cosalá Operations, in which reaffirms its commitment to Mexico and especially to its host communities. The company stated that it believes in sustainable mining as a force for development and social progress and emphasized it will continue working according to the best international practices.

Blasutti said that the illegal blockade remains an unfortunate situation for communities and the company. However, he  emphasized that Americas will not tolerate third parties to take away jobs and opportunities from workers. “We continue to work diligently with state and federal government officials to enforce rule of law and hope to have this resolved as soon as possible so our contributions to the community can remain unaltered.” Blasutti also added that despite these challenges, he hopes a positive resolution can be reached because the company is still interested in investing in Mexico.

In its press release, Americas emphasized it will continue to work with the Canadian government and SRE to provide solutions and solve the problem to avoid an arbitration process between Canada and Mexico.

Photo by:   Americas Gold and Silver Corporation

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