A Canadian mining company said Wednesday that an illegal miner was killed in a clash with guards at the firm's silver mine in central Mexico.
Vancouver-based Great Panther Silver Ltd. said in a statement the confrontation occurred Tuesday night at its mine in Guanajuato, capital of the central Mexico state of the same name.
The company said illegal miners "have been entering the mine by force and with weapons, such that we have had to hire an armed security force."
Thieves and illegal miners steal small quantities of rich ore, but also put the mines' employees and themselves at risk in the underground labyrinth of tunnels, it said.
The Guanajuato state prosecutors' office confirmed a man had been reported killed at the mine, but said tests were continuing to determine the cause of death.
Guanajuato is next to Michoacan state, where drug cartels have moved into illegal mining, but there was no immediate indication of any cartel involvement in the Guanajuato incident.
Great Panther Silver is focused on the mining of precious and base metals from its wholly owned properties in Mexico.