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Protester at Goldcorp site: 'The blockade continues at Penasquito'

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Protester at Goldcorp site: 'The blockade continues at Penasquito'

That was the blunt statement of Goldcorp Inc. protester Felipe Pinedo, who spoke with SNL Metals & Mining over the phone Oct. 7.

Pinedo said negotiations with Goldcorp to end the blockade at the Penasquito gold mine — now in day 11 — were on pause but might start again either Oct. 7 or Oct. 8.

"I hope we have a solution very soon," he said.

The protest in Zacatecas, Mexico, which forced Goldcorp to temporarily shutter one of the company's top mines Monday, Oct. 3, has dragged on for almost two weeks over a few issues, including trucking, water quality and access, as well as what are seen as unfulfilled company promises in the local communities.

At the blockade, Pinedo said that, during the day, there are about a thousand protesters on site, but at night the numbers swell to as many as three thousand when the temperature cools down.

He estimated that there were still 150 trucks on site, despite police operations earlier in the week. On Tuesday, Zacatecas state police cleared some blockading trucks from the main entrance to the mine, as confirmed by SNL Metals & Mining, but it appears that they have not regained control of the mine.

Pinedo said only a few trucks were removed and protesters still controlled access to Penasquito. Workers could exit the mine, Pinedo said, but no one was allowed in.

Responding to differing accounts of mine access, Goldcorp described the situation as "dynamic" to SNL Metals & Mining Oct. 6.

However, on the most recent developments, Goldcorp did not respond by press time to emailed questions about the current situation at Penasquito.

The company has said to SNL Metals & Mining that it would update markets when material events warrant.

A major focus of negotiations is trucking contracts. Goldcorp has said it wants to open it up to more competition, presumably to get better rates.

Pinedo countered, "Goldcorp says they want more competition ... but the reality is that they themselves will form the union."

SNL Metals & Mining is an offering of S&P Global Market Intelligence.