Americas Gold and Silver's San Rafael Mine in Cosalá, Sinaloa. Americas Gold and Silver's San Rafael Mine in Cosalá, Sinaloa.

Canadian miner’s subsidiaries accuse sabotage by union

The San Rafael mine in Cosalá, Sinaloa, hasn't operated for over a year

Two subsidiaries of Canadian mining company Americas Gold and Silver have filed criminal complaints against members of the mining union, led by ruling party Senator Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, for illegal occupation and sabotage of their operations in Cosalá, Sinaloa.

Members of the National Union of Mine and Metal Workers seized control of the Canadian company’s San Rafael lead mine and its processing plant 1 1/2 years ago.

According to a “chronology of the illegal blockade at Cosalá operations” published on the Americas Gold and Silver website, a small group led by Yasser Beltrán Kurioca forcefully took possession of the mine and mill by blocking access on January 26, 2020.

According to a report published by the newspaper Reforma on Monday, two subsidiaries that operate the mine and mill filed complaints with the Sinaloa Attorney General’s Office. They each claimed that the closure of their facilities has cost them US $150,000 per day.

Their combined losses now total US $153 million, Reforma said, adding that one of the complaints was referred to the federal Attorney General’s Office.

According to the complaints, the union invaders evicted mine workers, seized control of the mine and mill and blocked access to the site, located about 180 kilometers northeast of Mazatlán. They also allegedly altered the operation of the mine, changed the flow of water into it and stole lead concentrate using dump trucks.

The takeover of the mine and its mill is related to a collective contract dispute that dates back to 2019.

In April this year, more than 700 people, including mine workers and residents of Cosalá, wrote to President López Obrador to seek his assistance to reopen the mine.

They said that Beltrán Kurioca — described by Reforma as an “operator” of Gómez Urrutia — does not represent them and that he and his group have only caused problems.

“Beltrán doesn’t live in Cosalá; that’s why he doesn’t know what the situation we’re going through means. His presence is an obstacle to finding a solution for all of us,” the letter said.

López Obrador hasn’t responded, Reforma said.

With reports from Reforma 

Reader forum

The forum is available to logged-in subscribers only.