Operations at Equinox Gold’s Los Filos Suspended AgainBy Paloma Duran | Thu, 06/24/2021 - 11:36
Equinox Gold has announced that it has suspended its mining activities at its Los Filos mine in Guerrero due to an illegal blockade by a group of unionized employees and members of the Xochipala community who demand payments that exceed the agreed contracts.
Equinox announced its operations will be temporarily suspended due to the blockade. However, the company said it is working to achieve a log-term solution with the union and the community to resume operations effectively.
The new blockade occurred two months after the company signed a new social collaboration agreement with members of the Carrizalillo community, who blocked the mine in 4Q20 arguing that the company did not comply with the community social collaboration agreement signed in 2019. Due to 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 that it 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. Christian Milau, CEO of Equinox Gold, said that the company was pleased to have reached an agreement with the Carrizalillo community, in which it reinforced its commitment to provide health, social and economic benefits to the community and ensure a fair distribution of the benefits for all communities and stakeholders.
The company's Responsible Mining Commitments and Performance report reports that 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. 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 Jan. 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.