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After the link put up yesterday to the report on protests around the Almaden Minerals (AAU) (AMM.to) Ixtaca project in Mexico, your humble scribe got mail from the company. Even though it was originally meant as private mail, it makes a decent case and as IKN is always up for right-of-reply material, I asked for and received persmission to share this mail on the blog. So, without further ado...
I saw your reference to the Municipio article on the blog yesterday. Leticia Animas, the author, is known to us. We believe she is based out of Puebla - about 80 km from our Ixtaca project, and writes articles opposed to all kinds of development in Puebla. In this particular case, we understand that the presentation in a nearby community which she is talking about was organized by a group called REMA, which is by no means local to our project and is there more to influence the views of the community rather than to represent them. REMA appears to be an anti-development group generally with targets all over Mexico http://www.remamx.org/. The approach here seems to be REMA arriving from outside the area to try to generate fear amongst the community by alluding to deaths, skin lesions etc., while Municipio reports on the activity, mis-characterizing REMA’s action as local opposition.
For what it is worth, our experience with the local community is that they are open to dialogue and have been receptive to our work. We don't take this for granted, and continue to interact with them about any aspect of the project which is of interest. In order to help the local community visualize the impact of mining we have been offering community members bus trips to mining operations (over 300 people so far) so they can witness for themselves the impact of mining on communities and speak with those affected. This most basic form of education has been rewarding for all involved. We have an open-door community office and many employees are drawn from the local population, including several of our drillers who have been trained-up on the project and now have readily-transferable skills. We anticipate being confronted by professional NGO groups from outside of our area purporting to represent local views, and hope when that time comes that community members are enabled to take informed positions on Ixtaca.
While we have been operating in Mexico since 1992, we are a young company at heart and try to represent a modern, progressive face of mining. This business will always have critics and we welcome and expect informed criticism. I don't ask you to take our word for the community dynamics at Ixtaca, but I do hope that you read other peoples' words with the same level of scepticism that you do ours. Ideally, you could come to Ixtaca anytime to draw your own conclusions on how things are going. Barring that, I'd be happy to chat at your leisure by phone or email.