Canadian mining company denies link to shooting death of protester in Mexico – by Peter O’Neil (National Post – Janurary 26, 2012)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

OTTAWA — Vancouver-based mining company Fortuna Silver says it has nothing to do with the shooting death of a protester in a town near the company’s mine site in Mexico.

Police have arrested the alleged shooter implicated in the death of Bernardo Mendez Vazquez, who was shot last week during a protest that news reports have linked to opposition to the gold and silver mine.

The shooting took place in the town of San Jose del Progreso, where the mine is the chief employer. The town and mine in the southwestern state of Oaxaca have been the sites of past conflicts involving groups who say the mine is an environmental threat to the arid region’s scarce water supply.

But Fortuna Silver president Jorge Ganoza said “misinformation” is behind media reports tying his company to the violence, which also left another protester with a leg wound.

“We, as a company, and our team in Oaxaca are saddened by these senseless and continued acts of violence in the town of San Jose, related to a long-standing political struggle for local power,” Ganoza said.

“It is not the first incident of this nature in the last few years. It is in no way related to our activities or involves company personnel, and we really hope that the people of San Jose, with the assistance of the state authorities, will find a long-term solution to this senseless violence.”

He said reports that the company is a threat to the area’s freshwater supply are inaccurate, adding the mine gets all of its industrial water supply from a rain-supplied tailings pond.

Some Spanish-language media reports suggested the clash was related to protests over a project that was viewed as an attempt by the company to access the town’s water supply.

“This sad incident is related to an infrastructure project that was being handled by the municipality of San Jose and it’s related to the inter-connection of sewage and drinking water in the town of San Jose, and it has nothing to do” with the mine, Ganoza said.

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