A Canadian firm, Pan American Silver, investing in oil mines in Northern Mexico revealed on Monday that its operations in the area would be cut back over security concerns in the region. The roads leading to the mines, according to the company president, are highly unusable due to the increased security incidences that workers have been facing from time to time. The said affected area traverses the Chihuahua state where drug cartels have increasingly based their operations.
On Monday, the company had to restrict its operations following fears of a marauding armed gang. Company employees were forced to maintain closed doors in the mine residence while others were evaluated on private planes. Michael Steinmann, the company’s president, said that any movements to and from the mines would be halted until the government would step up its security in the region. He, however, revealed that the processing of the already-mined ore would continue but expressed fears that if the situation does not improve rapidly, then the company’s operations would have to grind to a halt.
In a supportive move, the Mexican Business Coordinating Council on Monday said that the increased levels of insecurity were affecting business functions in the area and that two companies had already ceased their operations in the region. The council further revealed that the instability of the region had taken a toll on its overall economy.
It was also revealed that the security of the region had significantly deteriorated as the crime rates in the highways had more than doubled since January this year.
In a similar statement offered on Monday, the National Railway Regulatory Agency lamented that the armed thugs were mainly targeting railway transit goods by prying pieces of the railway to derail trains.
This comes even as international investments within the country are dwindling due to the increased levels of insecurity that the region has continued to face over time. Last week, Lala, a food mega-factory was forced to suspend operations in a distribution hub in Ciudad Mante, a region in the northern border near the Pan American Silver Company’s site. Another company, Coca-Cola, was forced to stop operations in its largest bottling plant in Mexico over similar worries.
The heightened insecurity has been attributed to the eruption of gang conflict in the region which have forced the gangs to spit and flee to the northern areas. The state prosecutor, Irving Barrios, said that investigations were underway following the multiple-company complains and that measures to beef-up security would be set in place.