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Council calls for RCMP investigation of Blackfire mining company

The Toronto Star reports this morning that, “Canadian mining watchdog groups want the RCMP to investigate Blackfire Exploration Ltd., the Calgary mining company with operations in Mexico.”

“The United Steelworkers and three Canadian watchdog groups (Common Frontiers-Canada, the Council of Canadians and Mining Watch Canada) planned to file an official complaint Wednesday with the RCMP under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act over allegations that Blackfire was paying the mayor of a small Mexican town in return for the mayor’s favour.”

“Blackfire’s subsidiary has been caught up in controversy since last fall when news broke that one of the company’s most vocal opponents, Mexican activist Mariano Abarca Roblero, was killed. The company denies any involvement in the murder.”

Mexican police have arrested a Blackfire employee. a former employee, and a one time company contracter in relation to the murder.

Abarca Roblero was a critic of Blackfire, which he blamed for contaminating local rivers.

The Ministry of Environment for the state of Chiapas has since closed the mine for infractions including polluting and causing toxic emissions.

According to a report in the Mexican press in February, Blackfire is threatening to sue the government of Chiapas for $800 million in compensation under NAFTA’s Chapter 11 for the closure of its barite mine in December 2009.

The Toronto Star notes, “It will be up to the RCMP to decide if an investigation is warranted based on the watchdog groups’ allegations.”

This article is at http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/777555–mining-watchdogs-want-probe.

To hear Mexico City-based Council of Canadians Blue Planet Project organizer Claudia Campero being interviewed on this situation on CBC’s The Current in December, go to http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/200912/20091208.html.