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Reno-based Glamis Gold (TSX: GLG) has said it is "saddened" to hear unconfirmed reports that people may have died during protests aimed at preventing the transportation of equipment to its Marlin project in Guatemala, the company said.
Glamis said that a dispute arose in December in the community of Los Encuentros on the Pan American highway, which is located 150km away from Glamis' Marlin project.
Local residents objected to the temporary dismantling of a footbridge over the highway, which was being taken down to allow a ball mill destined for the Marlin project to pass through. The objections were made even though all required permits had been obtained in advance by the transportation contractor, Glamis said.
As a result, Glamis instructed the contractor to move the equipment away from the community in order to await resolution of the dispute.
"Following consultation with local representatives, government officials determined that the lawful flow of commerce in Guatemala must continue, and instructed police to escort the truck through the community," Glamis said.
However, the company said that "anti-development" activists had succeeded in "arousing" the local population by spreading misinformation as to the intended location and use of the equipment.
A subsequent confrontation took place between the police and the villagers, with unconfirmed reports of injuries.
"Glamis is saddened that this criminal activity may have resulted in injury and loss of life," it said.
The company said the Marlin project continues to be strongly supported by local residents, as well as municipal and national government officials.
By now, the truck and ball mill have proceeded more than 100km from Los Encuentros without incident and were expected to arrive at Marlin on Thursday. No delay or other impact is expected at the Marlin project, which remains on schedule to begin gold production later this year.