Today Consolidated Zinc’s (ASX:CZL) announced that a group of bandits entered its Plomosas mine near Chihuaua Mexico, last week, taking the security guard and employees captive and locking them in a sea container.

The bandits then stole around 90 tonnes of zinc and lead concentrated valued at around US$90,000.

How exactly they got away with the extremely heavy load is unclear.

But the company might have had wind of security issues earlier in the year – reporting in their September quarterly that some minor safety issues were reported internally that led to changes in the operating practises at the mine.

“Training programmes have been implemented to improve operator practises and to increase safety awareness,” the company said.

Luckily, all guards and employees were unharmed during the incident and are being counselled and supported.

And CZL’s Mexican subsidiary Minera Latin American Zinc SAPI de CV (MLAZ) is working with the Mexican Federal Police and Mexican Army who will provide enhanced security in and around Plomosas over the next few months.

A blow to offtake and plant upgrade plans

The company said it is continuing to review the impacts of the theft, but it will be deferring plant upgrade capital expenditures of up to US$90,000 which it had planned for implementation during Q4 2021 until Q1 2022.

At the end of the quarter, inventory stockpiles were 1,024 tonnes of run-of-mine ore available for processing and 205 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 85 tonnes of lead concentrate.

But now there’s a 90-tonne bandit-shaped hole in the stockpile.

And the company has yet to mention if and how this might impact its offtake agreement with Latin-American mining company Penoles – which on October 22 exercised its option to purchase 100% of the zinc concentrates produced by at Plomosas, for the period 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2022.