UPDATE 1-Goldcorp says Mexican land group threatens Canada suit

Mon Dec 9, 2013 11:42am EST

TORONTO/MEXICO CITY Dec 9 (Reuters) - Goldcorp Inc said on Monday a group challenging its use of lands around its Peñasquito mine in Mexico is threatening to sue the company in Canada.

The company and an organization of local landowners, the Cerro Gordo Ejido, have been locked in a tussle for months. Goldcorp in June won a temporary suspension of an agrarian court ruling that nullified Goldcorp's lease of the lands and ordered that the land be returned to the group.

Since then, Goldcorp and the Cerro Gordo Ejido have been in talks with a view to reaching a settlement.

However, Vancouver-based Goldcorp said on Monday it had received a notice from a Canadian law firm purporting to represent the Cerro Gordo Ejido group, threatening litigation against Goldcorp in Canada concerning the same lands.

Goldcorp said it believes the allegations are baseless. It said it will vigorously defend any claim if one is filed.

Alfonso Herrera, a lawyer representing the group, said the landowners had tired of getting hit with injunctions from Goldcorp in Mexico that stalled their case, arguing the company had shown little real desire to negotiate.

He also said the miner had been unwilling to address the group's complaints, which include backpayment on what the landowners say is the correct value of the land bought by Goldcorp and the construction of public works like a hospital.

Herrera said his client chose to take the case to Canada because the landowners believed the country's more rigid legal system would offer them more support than Mexican courts had.

"We're willing to dialogue with them," Herrera said. "But if this process doesn't lead to results, then we will sue them and we'll do it in Canada."

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