Mexican Landowners Win Court Ruling Against Canada's Excellon Resources

Tribunal orders payment to landowners for rent of their land to mining company

MEXICO CITY, Feb. 5 2015 /CNW/ - The Project of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ProDESC) and the Ejido La Sierrita de Galeana are pleased to announce the ruling of the Sixth District Agrarian Tribunal, based in Torreón, Coahuila, to release a rent payment to the La Sierrita communal landowners.

The ejido's right to receive this rent arises from a temporary occupancy agreement signed by La Sierrita and Canadian mining company Excellon Resources for the use of 1,100 hectares.

The ruling is an important advance for the respect of human rights, primarily in terms of access to justice, for Mexican ejidos and communities defending themselves against violations perpetrated by transnational companies.

However, we note with concern that local Durango media have published articles claiming the payment of the rent places the mining operation at risk and threatens job security and the company's corporate social responsibility investment program for the benefit of the community of Bermejillo. It is necessary to clarify that the release of the rent payment does not involve any extra expense for Excellon, since the company deposited the rent with the Agrarian Tribunal in 2013.

As a result of the ruling, serious harm to the ejido's communal life has been averted and the ejido's trust in law enforcement institutions has been restored, particularly in relation to their impartiality and compliance with the obligation to respect, protect and guarantee the human rights of communities.

We welcome the tribunal's ruling and trust that the final ruling on the termination of the temporary occupancy agreement will be impartial and based on respect for human rights.

Currently, the temporary occupancy agreement for the 1,100 hectares, under which the ejido is legally entitled to receive rent, is the subject of an agrarian lawsuit. The ejido filed this lawsuit in 2012, alleging Excellon's multiple breaches of the agreement, including exploration activities on land not included in the agreement, and primarily, due to the company's unwillingness to dialogue when the ejido proposed a joint revision of the contract to establish a fair and equitable relationship.

SOURCE ProDESC

For further information: Adriana Aguilar, Head of Communications, ProDESC, Office: 55 52122229/30, Mobile: 044 55 1503 2410, adriana@prodesc.org.mx

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