04/13/2015 10:21 EDT | Updated 06/14/2015 05:59 EDT

McEwen Mining Chief Sorry For Saying Mine Has 'Good Relationship' With Criminal Cartels

McEwen Mining
TORONTO - The head of a mining company robbed of $8.5 million in gold in Mexico is apologizing for a statement he made in a television interview following the theft.

Rob McEwen, president and chairman of Toronto-based McEwen Mining Inc.(TSX:MUX) told Business News Network last week that the company has had "a good relationship" with the cartels in the region.

In a release, McEwen said his answer was related to gaining access to properties the company wished to explore and called his use of the words good relationship "careless."

He said his response created the "entirely false" impression that the company has regular contact with criminal elements in Mexico, adding that "this is simply not true."

The theft of 900 kilograms of gold-bearing concentrate containing 7,000 ounces of gold occurred last Tuesday at El Gallo 1 mine in the western state of Sinaloa, which is controlled by a powerful cartel of the same name.

In his statement on Monday, McEwen also thanked the Mexican federal and state governments, law enforcement agencies and the army for their immediate response to the theft.

"We will continue to co-operate with them fully," he said.

Gerard Vargas Landeros, the interior minister of Mexico's western Sinaloa state, has said the heist was most likely an inside job by either current or former employees.

Also on HuffPost:

Classic Robbery Fails