Viet Nam News
MEXICO CITY - Mexico and Canada launched a task force on Wednesday to improve conditions for Canadian-owned mines in the Latin American nation, where security problems and protests have affected operations.
Goldcorp temporarily suspended production at Mexico’s biggest gold mine in the northern state of Zacatecas last week after a transport company blocked access to the site.
The blockade, which was removed last week, occurred as the Canadian firm plans to diversity its local transportation supply chain.
Last year, Goldcorp voiced concerns about violence in communities surrounding another gold mine in the southern state of Guerrero, where drug cartels buried victims in clandestine graves and taxed mine workers.
Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu and Canadian counterpart Stephane Dion announced the task force following talks in Mexico City, but they did not directly mention the problems that have affected Goldcorp and other miners.
"We have also discussed the way we may improve the ability for Canadian businesses and investors to succeed in Mexico," Dion said.
"The (minister) and I agreed to established a high level task force to resolve challenges faced by Canadians firms in the extractive sector," he told a news conference.
He noted that Canadian companies represent 70 per cent of direct foreign investment in Mexico’s mining sector and "we’ll do anything to improve it through this task force."
At another mine owned by Canada’s McEwen Mining company in the northern state of Sinaloa, armed robbers made off with 7,000 ounces of gold worth US$8.5 million in April 2015.
Rob McEwen, the company’s chief, caused a stir when he told the Business News Network that while drug cartels are active in the region, "generally we have a good relationship with them."
McEwen later issued a statement denying that his company had regular contact with criminals, saying that his remarks were related to contacting "property owners or impacted community members" in areas the firm wishes to explore. – AFP