Blockade Lifted At Equinox Gold’s Los Filos MineBy Paloma Duran | Mon, 08/02/2021 - 17:57
Equinox Gold has announced that the illegal blockade at its Los Filos mine in Guerrero has been lifted and the mine has resumed operations. In addition, the company announced that it will continue to dialogue with authorities and representatives of the Xochipala community to reach a long-term solution.
The company announced that the illegal blockade of a group of unionized workers and members of the Xochipala community who demand payments that exceed the agreed contracts, has been removed. Moreover, Equinox announced it has regained access to its mine and has resumed operations.
However, the company explained that there are still community members who continue to illegally camp near its Guadalupe and Bermejal open pits, causing the continued disruption of their mining activities. The company highlighted that this is the only area of the operation that continues to be affected. Equinox continues to work with the government and Xochipala representatives to achieve a log-term solution and resume all operations effectively.
Operations at Los Filos mine were suspended in June. However, in September the company was affected by another blockade by members of the Carrizalillo community. The community blocked the mine in 4Q20 arguing that the company did not comply with the community social collaboration agreement signed in 2019. As a result of the blockade, the company had to withdraw its 2020 production and cost guidance, in which it expected to produce at Filos 90,000-110,000oz of its total gold production of 470,000-530,000oz.
In April, the company announced it had signed an updated social collaboration agreement with the Carrizalillo community, which was similar to the one signed in 2019 and will be valid until April 2025.
According to the company’s Responsible Mining Commitments and Performance Report, Equinox directly benefits more than 40 communities and that its approach to them is based on generating trust and collaboration. In addition, Equinox said that it continually receives feedback to improve its relationships with local communities.
On June 22, the day of the announcement of the blockade, Equinox shares fell almost 4 percent on the TSE. Meanwhile, on July 26, the day the company announced the lifting of the blockade, its shares rose 6 percent on the TSE.
As described by the company, the Los Filos mine complex began commercial production in 2008 and was acquired by Leagold in 2017. Equinox Gold and Leagold merged in January 2020. The operation consists of two open pit mines — Los Filos and Bermejal — and an underground mine at Los Filos. Los Filos is located 180km south of Mexico City in the municipality of Eduardo Neri, Guerrero. The property includes 39 concessions covering 148,908ha.