Mexican Workers at Canadian Mines Are Under Constant Threat of Cartel Kidnappings, Killings – by Nathaniel Janowitz and Benjamin Fernandez (Vice News – April 13, 2015)

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Please note the April/2015 date of this article.- Stan Sudol/RepublicOfMining.com

The chief executive officer of a Canadian mining company has made waves in his industry after candidly describing how his operations in Mexico have contact with the powerful drug cartels that rule large swaths of the country.

McEwen Mining CEO Rob McEwen said in an interview with a Canadian business news outlet that his company has a “good relationship” with the Mexican cartels, most likely in reference to the Sinaloa cartel, after a mine owned by his company suffered a major robbery early last week.

Mexico is the world’s chief producer of silver and a major supplier of gold and copper. “If we want to go explore somewhere you ask them and they tell you, ‘No.’ But then they’ll say, ‘Come back in a couple of weeks, we’ve finished what we’re doing,'” McEwen told Canada’s Business News Network on Thursday.

The interview came after masked and heavily armed robbers stole 900 kilos of gold concentrate from a McEwen Mining refinery in the state of Sinaloa. The company estimated the value of the theft at $8.5 million.

McEwen later offered a statement published Tuesday on the company’s website, clarifying that he has no regular dealings with any cartels in Sinaloa.

“Responding to numerous media reports, I want to make it perfectly clear, that neither I nor any member of McEwen Mining’s management team in Canada or in Mexico have had any regular contact with, or have any relationship with, cartel members,” the statement says.

It is unclear who was behind the most recent mining crime in Mexico. However, it was the fourth targeted assault of a Canadian-owned gold mine in the southern and western regions of the country in the past two months.

McEwen’s frankness over the incident has drawn attention to the troubling security issues that mining interests and their employees face in Mexico, particularly after a wave of attacks in the southern state of Guerrero.

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