10/07/2015 08:22 EDT | Updated 10/07/2016 05:12 EDT

B2Gold, Canadian Miner, Closes Nicaraguan Mine After Violence


VANCOUVER — B2Gold Corp. (TSX:BTO) has halted operations at its El Limon Mine in Nicaragua after violence linked to an ongoing blockade left a national police officer dead and several people injured.

The Vancouver-based company said in a statement early today that violence broke out and there was "significant material damage" when police tried to clear access to the mining operation's main entrance.

B2Gold said the "illegal blockade" is a result of a small group of people protesting contract cancellation of three former workers. The company says the contract cancellation was approved by the Ministry of Labor for just cause.

The company said it is calling for calm, adding "the majority of the population wants peace and progress."

B2Gold said it will review the situation in the coming days with labour and government in order to determine an appropriate strategy to deal with the situation.

In February, B2Gold said two security guards were shot and killed at its Masbate Gold Project in the Philippines. Those deaths followed the shooting death of a long-time employee last December at the same operation about 350 kilometres south of Manila.

B2Gold's other mining operation is in Namibia and it has properties in Mali, Burkina Faso and Colombia.