Talks Surrounding Peñasquito Break Down, Operations Are Suspended

The truck dump at Peñasquito sits idle once again as Newmont Goldcorp tries to resolve issues with locals. (Photo: Newmont Goldcorp)
Newmont Goldcorp reported earlier this week that the dialogue initiated by the Mexican government to resolve issues with a trucking contractor and the community of San Juan de Cedros, one of several near the Peñasquito mine, has been suspended and an illegal, previously lifted blockade has resumed.

While the blockade persists, Newmont Goldcorp said operations will be suspended. The company said it remains willing to continue good-faith discussions once “the other parties recognize their interests are best served by returning to the government-sponsored discussions and not through illegal and unproductive blockades that hurt local communities.”

Over the years, the owners of the Peñasquito mine have enhanced water availability to neighboring communities through a number of projects including water treatment plants, new wells, pipelines and water trucks, along with 90 other infrastructure and community development projects, according to the company.

During the negotiations initiated by the government, Newmont Goldcorp said it offered a number of additional enhancements, including identifying new opportunities for local suppliers to contract with the mine, which would include capacity building to help them qualify to meet the company’s standards; reviewing existing contracts with local suppliers to ensure there is a balance with all of the neighboring communities; building and operating permanent infrastructure to replace current water supplementation for San Juan de Cedros; and investing in additional infrastructure and amenities for the Cedros community to further support long-term economic development.

In 2018, Peñasquito produced 272,000 ounces of gold, and the mine directly employs more than 6,500 people while supporting another 20,000 indirect jobs in the region. Since 2005, Newmont Goldcorp has invested approximately $5 billion in Peñasquito, including $420 million in the Pyrite Leach Plant in 2017-2018.

As featured in Womp 2019 Vol 10 -