Mexican Government Pressures Canadian Mining CompaniesBy Paloma Duran | Thu, 03/18/2021 - 18:18
President López Obrador has pressured the Canadian government over mining issues and has stated that if Canadian companies do not comply with the government’s requirements, concessions could be revoked. As a result, there have been several conflicts between the government and Canadian companies such as First Majestic, which initiated arbitration proceedings against the government and seeks to diversify outside of Mexico. Another example is Americas Gold and Silver Corp, which has stated that it is a victim of organized crime and extortion.
Meanwhile, this week Canadian and Mexican authorities discussed the importance of strengthening ties between the two countries and fostering a stable environment for mining investments.
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President López Obrador announced that the concession of the Canadian mining company, Americas Gold and Silver Corp can be revoked if it does not accept its new union representation. López Obrador requested Marcelo Ebrard, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 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 Gold and Silver responded in a statement that it was victim of extortion and organized crime that have been disguised as a labor rights conflict. The company shared a detailed timeline, where it explained that the mine has been illegally blocked. “If, and when, safe access to our facilities can be assured for our employees and we are free from the source of this extortion scheme that threatens us all, we would be happy to engage in any kind of labor discussion,” said the company in a statement.
President López Obrador said the federal government has decided it will not hand out any more permits to mining companies. This statement came after Canadian company Advance Gold Corporation announced that its subsidiary in Mexico signed an agreement to purchase 13 estates which contain lithium, potassium and boron deposits. López Obrador stated that the Minister of Economy has not received a formal request from the Canadian company and insisted that there was no longer the intention of giving permits to foreign mining companies.
First Majestic Silver seeks further diversification outside of Mexico. Keith Neumeyer, CEO of the company, confirmed that First Majestic is acquiring the Jerritt Canyon mine in Nevada, which was decided days after the arbitration process against the Mexican government began.
The company’s plans to acquire the Nevada gold mine from Sprott Mining is a significant shift for First Majestic. For the past 17 years, the company has focused primarily on Mexico. It has three operating mines, the Ermitaño project and four suspended mines. In a video conference, the company said it will also seek to sell non-core assets in the country. “What the next acquisition looks like would be the biggest question. I think our portfolio is changing,” he added.
During the virtual convention of the Canadian Association of Prospectors and Developers, Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade of Canada, joined Ministry of Economy, Tatiana Clouthier Carrillo, to discuss the strengthening of alliances between both countries, especially in the mining and energy sectors. Ng emphasized the importance of fostering a stable business environment for Canadian companies, especially in the mining sector, to promote investment and projects. Both agreed to continue working together, especially in the post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
Sonoro Gold Corp. announced the test results of a drilling program at its Cerro Caliche gold project in Sonora. The program included the drilling of 32 holes that confirmed a high-grade zone at Buena Suerte, high-grade intercepts in its northern extension, continued mineralization at the El Rincón–Veta de Oro–Abejas vein and further extension of the Bellatoso zone.
John Darch, Chairman of Sonoro Gold, said in a press release “the continued expansion of the Buena Suerte Gold Zone, the positive drilling results at El Rincón and the newly identified Bellotoso zone brings us closer to our goal of developing a major bulk-tonnage, oxide gold resource with the potential to provide a source of production and revenue in the years to come.”
Tocvan Ventures Corp. reported on the exploration program at its Pilar Gold-Silver Project and explained that the program sought to advance key targets with no previous mapping to incorporate into its Phase II drill program. Tocvan identified a new Triple Vein Zone (TVZ) that extends 350m off the Main Zone. It has mapped veins between 5-15m wide, “all hosted with the same oxidized andesite rock seen at the drill defined Main Zone.” Brodie Sutherland, Vice President Exploration of Tocvan Ventures, said in a press release that “geologists have identified several new vein zones that correlate with previous reconnaissance rock and soil sampling. This is an important step to unlocking the full potential of Pilar as we move toward our next phase of drilling.”