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Communal landowners vs Excellon Resources

Case overview

Date filed 28 May 2012
Current status Rejected
Issue Excellon Resources' dispute with landowners in Mexico
Summary of the case A group of communal landowners from the Ejido “La Sierrita de Galeana” (La Sierrita) and several Canadian and Mexican civil society organisations allege that Excellon Resources has breached OECD Guidelines provisions on disclosure, human rights, employment and environment.

In 2008, La Sierrita agreed to lease a portion of their land to Excellon Resources for the development of the company's La Platosa poly-metallic (silver, lead and zinc) mine. The complaint alleges Excellon Resources has breached the land rental contract with La Sierrita. The complainants allege that Excellon Resources failed to obtain consent before engaging in exploration activities on land outside the area designated in the contract and has also failed to take any steps to comply with its contractual obligation to build a water treatment plant, leading to reduced potable water supplies and contamination of La Sierrita.

The complainants furthermore contend that the company sought to stop workers from joining a local affiliate of the mining union, thereby violating the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining of workers at the La Platosa mine. The complaint accuses Excellon Resources of engaging in worker intimidation and actively supporting a “rogue” union to strategically undermine the unionization efforts of the SNTMMSSRM. The complainants contend the company has aggressively misled investors about the local labour dispute as well.
Developments/Outcome The complaint was filed simultaneously at the Mexican and Canadian NCPs. In November 2012, the Mexican NCP rejected the case. The NCP found that the issues raised in the complaint were material but not substantiated. The NCP also cited Excellons unwillingness to participate in any possible NCP-facilitated mediation as a reason for rejecting the case.

The complainants are concerned about the flawed procedures followed by the NCP, including the unreasonably high threshold for accepting a case and the failure to take into account international laws and standards for employment and labour issues. The complainants feel that the NCP exhibited a clear bias toward the company and are concerned by the lack of cooperation with the Canadian NCP, which appears not to have been involved at all.

In 2011, prior to the filing of the specific instance, the Canadian Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor received a complaint on the same issue and concluded that the request should directly proceed to structured dialogue. However, Excellon withdrew from this process before dialogue could begin. The complainants presentthese varying conclusionsas evidence that the Mexican NCP has unduly rejected the case, particularly as the Canadian official's detailed investigation included a field visit to the mine site and the surrounding community.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Secteur minier, Les droits de l'homme, Environnement

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Mexico
NCP address Insurgentes Sur 1940 CP 01030 Mexico, D.F , Mexico
NCP website http://www.economia-snci.gob.mx/
Other NCPs involved

Complainants

ONG
syndicat

Company Information

Company responsible Excellon Resources
Company address
Company website
Company in violation Excellon Resources
Country of operations Mexico
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
9 January 2013 Project for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights letter TUAC (Trade Union Advisory Committee) publishes concerns about the procedures followed by the Mexican NCP. download pdf (40Kb)  
28 November 2012 National Contact Point Mexico reject The Mexican NCP rejects the case. download pdf (348Kb)  
28 May 2012 Project for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights file Communal landowners file complaint at Canadian and Mexican NCP download pdf (360Kb)  

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