The Accountability Gap: Canadian Mining in Mexico La Sierrita
Organizing workers and community against destructive corporate practice.
- Friday, April 19th, 7pm
- James Bay New Horizons Society at 234 Menzies St. in Victoria.
- Featured Guest Speaker: Alejandra Ancheita
Ms. Ancheita is a well know human rights lawyer in Mexico with extensive experience representing human rights issues before national and international tribunals.
She is currently the executive director of the Project of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ProDESC), a human rights organization based in Mexico City. She will describe the challenges Mexican communities and workers face at the hands of Canadian mining companies, and the lack of accountability focusing on the community of La Sierrita and the Canadian mining company Excellon in Durango.
Entertainment by Launch Pad Productions. Live music and refreshments!
No admission charge.
Mining Justice Action Committee, CUPE-VIDC, CUPE National, United Steelworkers, KAIROS and Central America Support Committee.
Alejandra Ancheita is currently the Executive Director of the Project on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ProDESC), a human rights organization based in Mexico City.
She has worked for over a decade as a human rights advocate in Mexico, and was a participant in the 2005 Human Rights Advocates Training Program at Columbia University. Upon her return, she founded ProDESC, where she was the Executive Director until December 2008.
In her years at ProDESC, and as a litigation specialist at the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center (Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juarez, Centro Pro) and the Center for Labor Support and Reflection (Centro de Reflexión y Apoyo Laboral, CEREAL), Alejandra worked on strategic litigation and defense of human rights advocates and local communities.
She has argued cases before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court, and several national courts. In 2009 Alejandra studied a Master’s Degree in International Law and Global Justice at the Fordham University Law School, with the support of a Leitner Center Scholarship. During 2010 she was a visiting Scholar ay the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics, developing a research initiative called “Towards a Genuine Transnational Collaboration: Constructing Transnational Justice for Migrant Workers.”
Alejandra returned to ProDESC in the fall of 2010, where she currently heads the Transnational Justice Area of the organization, in addition to consulting for other organizations in Mexico.
Excellon Resources Inc. is a Canadian mining company headquartered in Toronto. Its wholly-owned Mexican subsidiary, MineraExcellon de México, S.A. de C.V., operates the La Platosa silver, zinc, and lead mine located on the Ejido “La Sierrita de Galeana,” communally owned land in northeastern Durango. Excellon Resources also wholly owns another Mexican subsidiary, ServiciosMineros San Pedro, the company responsible for the hiring and payment of its mine workers.
In May 2004, the General Assembly of the La Sierrita Ejido approved the rental of four hectares of communal land for $300,000 pesos MXN per hectare for 30 years (a total of $1,200,000 pesosMXN,or about $95,000 CDN) to MineraExcellon de Mexico. However, when the contract was signed by theEjido leadership, it provided for the rental of 27 acres of communal land for the same price. In 2007, the Ejido approached Excellon management to negotiate a more just contract.
In 2008, after several failed negotiations and persistent social
action by the community, including a blockade of the mine site, an
historical agreement was reached in which an additional 1,100 hectares were rented out to Excellon in exchange for much fairer contract terms, including a higher rental price, the financing of social development projects, an allocation of company shares to the communal landowners (ejidatarios), hiring preferences for community members, scholarships for local children, the construction of a water treatment plant and the requirement that Excellon obtain consent from the Ejido if it wished to conduct further mining activities on any Ejido land not covered by the contract.
Unfortunately, Excellon has failed to uphold most non-monetary
provisions of the 2008 contract.In 2011, Excellon entered onto Ejido land outside of the rented area to conduct exploration activities without obtaining the Ejido’s consent. The company has also refused to build the water treatment plant and has been disposing of its untreated wastewater onto communal and surrounding land. This water has been found to have five times more arsenic than is fit for human consumption. For over two years, Excellon has been involved in intense land and labour conflicts with both the Ejido community and the mine workers.
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