Just before midnight last night Torex Gold (TXG.to) gave its version of events, which was bare bones stuff but confirmed one full time member of its staff of 250, plus three of the approximate 1,000 third party contractors are among the 12 people kidnapped outside its mine on Friday evening. Still no news of their whereabouts. Meanwhile this report from Mexico’s Progeso shines light on the rotten underbelly and talks of things that TXG would much prefer were kept under wraps. For example:
- Locals blame Uriel Wences Delgado, a.k.a.”La Burra” and a local operator of the La Familia drug cartel.
- According to locals, he let one of the hostages go so they’d give out his message: “I’ve come for my money, that of the mine and the population”
- La Burra was apparently behind the incident a few years ago when seven Torex trucks were stolen. From that moment until 2013, TXG paid him protection money in the form of a monthly quota.
- That stopped in 2013 when he and his clan were run out of town by the newly militant community guard. Now those movements have been outlawed, La Burra is back and he wants his action again.
- Locals also note that TXG contracts a local company called Capitsa, which is owned by La Burra’s nephew.
So, word among Morelos locals is that TXG bribes narcogangs in order to stop them from targetting their company. Any laws against that in Canada, perchance? I wonder which line-item that goes under in the quarterly financials, Admin? Office and general? Security expenses? Misc?
The problem TXG has these days is that after the worldwide headline making events around the disappearance of the 43 Guerrero students, now presumed dead and their bodies burned to cinders by the narco assassins who worked with the local politicos and police, the world cares about what goes on there. A few years ago it was just nosy bloggers who were easily ignored, now it’s Washington Post and BBC News 24 hours after the incident. It’s going to be much more difficult for Fred Stanford to keep a messy can of worms from being opened and all of its contents spilled, not just the drip-drip of carefully managed newsflow he’d very much prefer.