Talks to resolve Goldcorp Mexico mine blockade under way: official

MEXICO CITY/TORONTO (Reuters) - Negotiations are under way to resolve a week-long blockade at Goldcorp Inc’s suspended Peñasquito gold mine in Mexico, a government mediator said on Wednesday.

Goldcorp, the world’s No. 3 gold miner by market value, said on Monday that it shut mine operations on safety concerns from the blockade by a trucking contractor concerned about losing business due to mine efficiencies.

Talks began Tuesday night and another meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, said Julio Cesar Chavez, a Zacatecas government official and mediator in talks between Goldcorp and the trucking contractor and farmers, who have joined in the protests against Goldcorp.

“An agreement with the land owners and a trade agreement with the truckers is pending today,” he said in an interview with Reuters.

Vancouver-based Goldcorp was not immediately available for comment.

There are 420 police officers at the site and they have cleared three entrances to the mine, Chavez said. One truck brought food into the mine yesterday, and protesters are now being asked to allow another truck to enter with water, he said.

In a meeting Tuesday night, truckers and a committee representing farmers asked Goldcorp to withdraw lawsuits against protesters, said Felipe Pinedo, one of the protest leaders.

Protesters are demanding jobs and payment for environmental damages and water used by the mine, Pinedo has said.

In late August, Reuters reported on a long-running leak of contaminated water, which had not been disclosed to the public, at the mine, Mexico’s biggest gold deposit.

Goldcorp said it has about 750 people at the northern Mexico mine and expects to produce between 520,000 and 580,000 ounces of gold this year, equal to around 19 percent of its total forecast output of 2.8 million to 3.1 million ounces.

A contingency plan was in place that would allow mining and processing to be restarted immediately once the dispute was resolved, Goldcorp said. It did not expect the shutdown to impact 2016 production or cost estimates.

Reporting by Susan Taylor and Noe Torres; Editing by Leslie Adler