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A matter of necessity: Rob McEwen clarifies cartel comment

by Greg Klein | April 13, 2015

McEwen Mining TSX:MUX CEO Rob McEwen wants to clear up any misunderstanding about any “relationship” with criminal cartels. In an April 9 BNN interview about the 7,000-ounce gold heist at his company’s El Gallo 1 mine in Mexico, he was asked if that part of the country is dangerous. McEwen responded: “It hasn’t been. I mean the cartels are active down there. Generally we have a good relationship with them.”

It is our policy to contact all property owners or impacted community members in an area to seek their permission and ascertain the appropriate timing to enter their properties to conduct mineral exploration. We respect their wishes as any good neighbour and responsible miner would.—Rob McEwen,
CEO of McEwen Mining

By April 13 McEwen found a clarification necessary. “My answer was related to gaining access to properties we wish to explore,” he stated. “It is our policy to contact all property owners or impacted community members in an area to seek their permission and ascertain the appropriate timing to enter their properties to conduct mineral exploration. We respect their wishes as any good neighbour and responsible miner would.

“Unfortunately, my use of the words ‘good relationship’ was careless and has created the entirely false impression with Mexican media that we have regular contact with criminal elements in their society. This is simply not true. I wish to apologize sincerely for any misunderstanding my words may have caused.”

McEwen had told BNN, “If you want to go explore somewhere you ask them, and they’ll tell you “no,” but then they’ll say come back in a couple of weeks [when] we finish what we’re doing.”

BNN’s Andrew Bell then asked, “What are they doing, transporting drugs or something?”

McEwen answered, “They might be harvesting them, or—a lot of the problems happen higher in the mountains and we’re in the foothills.”

While the word “relationship” might be misunderstood, the unfortunate necessity of consulting criminals isn’t unique to Mexico or McEwen. Nor is it new. In late 2011 Ian Ball, then senior VP for US Gold, McEwen’s predecessor company at El Gallo, told ResourceClips.com, “We have been very active there for three or four years and have been able to establish a pretty good relationship—and this might sound strange—with the cartel. You have to know who they are and inform them what you’re doing and where you’re moving to…. They don’t want you near their marijuana crops.”

US Gold was renamed McEwen Mining in January 2012.

Read more about Rob McEwen’s BNN interview.

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