TORONTO, June 6, 2012 /CNW/ - Jeremy Wyeth, Chief Executive Officer of Excellon Resources (TSX: EXN), handed in his resignation to the Board of Directors on June 4 following a confrontational shareholder meeting on May 31 in Toronto.
The resignation comes only days after members of the communal landowners' group, Ejido "La Sierrita", attended Excellon's shareholders' meeting to vote against stock options for the board of directors and demand that the company resolve community and labour disputes at the La Platosa mine in Durango, Mexico. The resignation also comes a week after both landowners and employees in Mexico, along with Canadian allies, filed a complaint against Excellon under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Corporations with the National Contact Point in Ottawa.
During the shareholder meeting, community representatives Daniel Pacheco and David Espinoza insisted that the company send Canadian management to a negotiation in early June to resolve a long-simmering land conflict with the Ejido La Sierrita. "Your management in Mexico has failed to respect its agreement with our community and avoided coming to the table to resolve our legitimate concerns. We need your Canadian management to attend negotiations in early June to ensure significant change. Only then will we know that Excellon is taking the peaceful resolution of these conflicts seriously," said Mr. Pacheco at the May 31 meeting. The representatives also insisted that the company engage in negotiations of a legitimate collective bargaining agreement with workers in the mine.
Shareholders noted the drastic difference between the community members' account of what is happening in Mexico and the company's official statements regarding the conflicts. "It is clear that shareholders were not happy with the company leadership in last Thursday's meeting," said Mark Rowlinson of the United Steelworkers (USW). According to Mr. Rowlinson, shareholders were concerned about the recent acquisition of land in northern Canada and the lack of of transparency on the part of Excellon to its shareholders regarding the company's perpetuation of both labour and land conflicts at the La Platosa mine in Mexico.
The USW and ProDESC have routinely communicated with shareholders over the last year and warned of the lack of disclosure on community and labour problems, which, the union alleges, is a reason for the depressed stock price. Last week, the USW sent Excellon's major shareholders a copy of the OECD complaint filed by various worker and community stakeholders. The shareholders' concerns in the meeting were evident in heated exchanges that several shareholders had with board of directors chairman Peter Crossgrove, as well as in the narrow margin of what was supposed to be a routine vote to ratify stock options to the board of directors.
After a year of continued concern about the conflicts at La Platosa and stagnant share prices, shareholders expressed that they were looking for something new. Mr. Wyeth's departure may herald the company's response.
"It is our hope that these changes also indicate a willingness on the part of the company to change tack regarding its perpetuation of both labour and social conflicts at the La Platosa facility," said Mr. Espinoza.
For further information:
Christopher Benoit, ProDESC (Project of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)
(tel) +55-5212-2230, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Moore, Latin America Program Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada
(613) 569-3439, email@example.com
Daniel Pacheco, Ejido "La Sierrita", +52-416-876-2502
Mark Rowlinson, United Steelworkers, 416-544-5952, firstname.lastname@example.org