Fresnillo's subsidiary, Minera Penmont, reported that police have removed protesters who were at different entry points of the company's La Herradura operation, located in Sonora. Protesters had been there for 14 days demanding profit sharing payments. However, the company argues that this is an illegal blockade.
The conflict began on April 27, when the employees demanded the payment of 10% of the company's profits that corresponded to the 1,800 workers. The workers were also protesting for their right to freedom of association. Minera Penmont stated in a press release that the blockade was illegal, as people who do not even work for the company were part of the protests. In addition, the company accused all of them of refusing to follow the usual channels to negotiate a solution. “The company initiated legal actions against those responsible for this downtime that has put the mining operation, social stability and the local economy at risk,” the statement reads.
According to Mining.com, the Criminal Investigation Agency intervened to remove protesters after 14 days. Minera Penmont assured it has always complied with workers' requests within the requirements of the law and the contract with the FRENTE Mining and Metallurgical National Union. Additionally, the company affirmed that it had not interfered with the union's choices in its meetings, which had been promoted by the Mexican government.
Fresnillo’s La Herradura, an open-pit gold mine, has been in operation since 1997. It generated 106,832oz of gold and 208,000oz of silver in 1Q23. The operation employs around 3,000 people and contributes US$500 million annually to the local economy.
In 2022, Fresnillo produced 53.7Moz AgEq, in line with its production guideline. Production was slightly above 2021, supported by Juancipio and higher volumes of mineral processing in Fresnillo. This compensated for the low ore grade in San Julian. Meanwhile, gold-equivalent production reached 635,900oz in 2022, 15.3% less than in 2021. This was mainly due to a lower recovery rate as the processing volume of sulfur increases, as well as a lower ore grade in Herradura and a volume decrease of the processed mineral and lower ore grades in Noche Buena, Saucito and Ciénega.