PBI-Mexico allied Educa Oaxaca highlights health problems experienced by Zapotec communities near Canadian mine

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo by Roxana Romero.

The PBI-Mexico allied Educa Oaxaca is highlighting continued concerns about the impacts of the Canadian-owned mine on communities near San José del Progreso.

Mongabay reports on instances of itchy skin, hepatitis, fish without eyes and tails, breathing and intestinal issues in an area “located less than 20 kilometers from the facilities of the Cuzcatlán Mining Company, a company located in San José del Progreso that extracts daily 3000 tons of gold and silver from an underground mine.”

Cuzcatlán is the Mexican subsidiary of Vancouver-based Fortuna Silver Mines Inc.

The article adds: “According to experts consulted, these conditions could be related to the presence of aluminum, barium, chromium, iron, manganese and lead in the Coyote stream and aluminum in the Santa Rosa River, two channels near the mining company that pass through the communities where the diseases occur.”

“Physician Heiser Ariel Vásquez Salazar … believes that the latest cases of this viral disease [hepatitis] could be associated with the spill of the Cuzcatlán Mining Company in 2018, if it is confirmed, as the communities maintain, that the water contaminated with metals reached the well from which the population of Magdalena takes water.”

Fortuna seeks to mine until 2029

The article adds: “Meanwhile, residents are concerned about the possibility that the Cuzcatlán mining company will continue in Oaxaca and spread to other regions of Mexico.”

“According to the last MIA that the company delivered in September 2020, they intend to continue with their gold and silver extraction activities in the municipality of San José del Progreso until 2029, although Semarnat [Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources] does not yet approve this request.”

Webinar earlier this year

On March 11, Peace Brigades International and Amnesty International co-hosted this webinar that featured Neftali Reyes of Educa Oaxaca and representatives from Magdalena Ocotlán discussing the impacts of this mine.

This Educa Oaxaca report on the webinar highlights: “The representatives of the community located just a few meters from the San José mining project, owned by the FSM company, reiterated that ‘the mining company is affecting us a lot’ with water pollution, mine waste, constant noise and the shortage of water.”

PBI-Canada also hosted Neftali Reyes and Salvador Martínez Arellanes (an Indigenous leader from Santa Carina Minas) at public meetings about this mine in Ottawa and Toronto in November 2018.

PBI-Mexico has accompanied Educa Oaxaca since May 2013.

We continue to follow this issue closely.

Categories: News Updates

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