A meeting aimed at resolving a dispute between Excellon Resource Inc. (TSX:T.EXN, Stock Forum) and owners of communal lands in the vicinity of the companys La Platosa mine in the state of Durango, Mexico broke down on Thursday.
The meeting was held at the site of a peaceful blockade, which began on July 8, outside the mine site and was attended by Excellons executive vice-president Brendan Cahill, members of negotiating committee for the landowners (also known as the Edijo), and local government officials.
Sources familiar with the discussions say they lasted for about four hours and focused on the companys alleged failure to comply with a land use contract that was intended to ensure that the land owners would receive benefits from mining operations on their land.
According to a press release issued by PRODESC, a non-governmental organization that defends economic, social and cultural rights in Mexico, talks finally broke down when Cahill told the land owners that the company would not negotiate until the blockade is removed.
The company wouldnt back down from the position that it wont negotiate until the blockade is removed, and the communitys position is that theyve been through this before, said PRODESC representative Christopher Benoit in an interview with Stockhouse.
According to Benoit, it is mainly local families who are participating in the blockade. Between 80 and 100 people have set up living quarters on a property just outside the mines jurisdiction with large tarps blocking a road that leads to the La Platosa mine.
Excellon has maintained in news releases that it is in constant contact with all of the parties involved in the blockade. However, Excellon officials could not be reached for comment on why exactly the dispute broke down on Thursday.
The land use contract in question, signed in April 2008, was intended to ensure the land owners would receive benefits from the mining operations on their land, said Jennifer Moore in an interview with Stockhouse, Latin America Program Coordinator from MiningWatch Canada.
The contract contained specific clauses related to ensuring that the members of the Edijo would have access, for example, to contracts, transportation or food services, and that the company would build a waste treatment plant that would ensure the water that theyre drawing out of the mine could be used for agricultural uses.
However, according to Moore, Excellon has not complied with the contracts clauses.
Excellon is a mineral resource company operating in Mexico and Canada. The company says it is committed to building value through production, expansion and discovery.
On Friday morning, Excellon was trading at $0.50 a share. The company has a market cap of $138.7 million, based on 277.5 million shares outstanding. The 52-week high and low was $0.85 and $0.43 respectively.