Blockade at Equinox Los Filos lifted

Los Filos mine (Credit: Equinox Gold)

Equinox Gold Corp. (TSX: EQX, NYSE: EQX) reported on Monday that the community blockade at its Los Filos mine in Mexico has been removed.

Los Filos has begun a staged restart and is working toward achieving full operations in December. Workers will resume their duties only after testing negative for covid-19, the company said.

The protesters claimed that Equinox had a racist and discriminatory attitude against the residents and had also violated clauses of the contract related to the protection of health and the environment.

Midday Monday, Equinox’s stock was down 1.2% on the TSE

Members of the community said that 21 workers have been infected with covid-19 in the last months, some of whom have died.

The company said it remains in negotiations to reach a final agreement with the community on a few remaining items related to benefits provided under the Carrizalillo social collaboration agreement.

“Although the blockade has been a setback, we fully expect the company to resume activities on the Los Filos expansion (development of the higher grade Guadalupe pit, the Bermejal underground, and construction of a CIL plant),” BMO Capital Markets said in a note.

According to company files, Los Filos has a 20-year mine life (2019-28), during which 3.2 million ounces of gold are expected to be recovered.

From 2021 onwards, the average annual output will be 350,000 ounces. That number will rise to 420,000 ounces going forward until 2024.

Midday Monday, Equinox’s stock was down 1.2% on the TSE. The company has a C$3.26 billion market capitalization.

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