MAC: Mines and Communities

Villagers take over San Andrés mine in Copan, Honduras

Published by MAC on 2016-04-21
Source: The Canadian Press, Marketwired, La Tribuna

Aura Minerals has suspended operations

Aura Minerals Announces Suspension of Operations at San Andres Mine

21 April 2016

Aura Minerals Inc. announces that it has suspended operations at its San Andres gold mine ("San Andres") in Honduras.

The decision to suspend operations at San Andres has been taken as a result of approximately 20 individuals unlawfully entering the mine site and forcefully disrupting normal operations.

The Company believes that the views of the unauthorized individuals do not represent those of the majority of the communities surrounding San Andres.

The Company complies with all local and Canadian laws in addition to maintaining strong and respectful community relationships while promoting the health, education and welfare of the local communities.

The Company operates in a transparent and ethical manner to ensure a safe, productive, and healthy work environment for all our employees and contractors and will not tolerate any environment that promotes discrimination or harassment.

As a result of the forceful disruption and subsequent suspension of operations, the permanent employment of approximately 1,000 direct and indirect local employees and contractors has been suspended until such time as the situation is resolved.

Management is confident that a resolution will be forthcoming as it works with all parties to peacefully resolve the current situation and will provide appropriate updates as additional information becomes available.


Villagers take over mine in Copan

La Tribuna -

7 April 2016

About 500 residents of the village of Azacualpa, in La Union, Copan department, took over the entrance of the San Andrés mine, for breaching of agreements since the beginning of the mining project.

Protestors regretted that the promises were many, including decent housing for 396 families, of which only 120 have been given, but they are not willing to accept the situation.

In the afternoon, a commission headed by the mayor, Serafín Tabora, together with several council members, expressed support for the protesters.

No representative of the company Minerales de Occidente attended the meeting.

Following the demonstrations, the mining company has ended the employment of about 300 workers, who have been waiting to be reinstated to their jobs while demanding the recognition of their rights.

La Tribuna tried to get the version of the company Minerales de Occidente, but no delegate gave an interview.

While a group of people claim no more mines, others hope to recover their jobs.

Stéphane Dion urged to protect Honduran villagers from Canadian mining company

Aura Minerals accused of exposing Azacualpa residents to cyanide leaching through gold mine.

Mike Blanchfield

The Canadian Press -

20 April 2016

A Canadian human rights delegation urged Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion's office Wednesday to come to the aid of Honduran villagers they say are being exploited by a Canadian mining company.

The group — including First Nations women leaders, the organization MiningWatch Canada, lawyers and activists — visited Honduras this past week and want to draw attention to the plight of villagers in Azacualpa.

The group says in a brief presented to Dion's office that the operations of Toronto-based Aura Minerals are affecting the health of villagers by exposing them to cyanide leaching and from its open-pit gold mine.

They also say the company wants to move both the villagers and their community graveyard. They're also calling on the Canadian embassy to stop supporting the company's activities in Honduras.

A request to the company for comment went unanswered Wednesday.

The rights group says it is troubling that the Canadian government has deepened economic relations with Honduras, including signing a free-trade agreement, following the country's 2009 military coup.

"We would like Canada to make a little bit more noise," said Catherine Morris, the research director for Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, a delegation member.

Dion's spokesman Joe Pickerill said in an emailed statement that the government is committed to demonstrating leadership on corporate social responsibility.

"Canadians expect our businesses operating abroad to respect human rights, labour rights, all applicable laws, and to conduct their activities in a socially and environmentally responsible manner," he said.

In 2014, the previous Conservative government announced the creation of a revamped, corporate social responsibility counsellor that would screen foreign community complaints about mining operations and companies. Companies that refused to co-operate with the counsellor would lose government support.

The new counsellor does not have the power to compel mining companies to co-operate, but some non-governmental organizations saw it as a positive step after more than a decade of advocating for tougher scrutiny of Canadian overseas mining operations.

Liberal MP John McKay recently called for stricter oversight of Canadian mining companies because they periodically face accusations that they are violating local laws and human rights, despite overall improvements in the industry.

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