Vancouver-based Fortuna Silver secures provisional injunction to allow San Jose mine to continue beyond expiry of permit
A mural in San José del Progreso, Oaxaca, reads: ‘Yes to life, no to the mine’. Photo by Liam Barrington-Bush and Jen Wilton.
On October 25, Vancouver-based Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. provided this update on its application for an extension of the environmental impact authorization (EIA) at the San Jose Mine which is located in San José del Progreso, an Indigenous Zapotec community in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, Mexico.
It notes that the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) had granted in 2009 a 12-year EIA to Fortuna’s subsidiary Companía Minera Cuzcatlán (CMC) to operate the mine until October 23, 2021.
This past July, SEMARNAT rejected a new EIA for the company.
Now, Fortuna highlights in this media statement: “CMC is working with SEMARNAT and government authorities to resolve this matter and has obtained a provisional injunction from a Mexican federal court that allows the continued operation of the San Jose Mine beyond the expiry date of the EIA.”
Communities reject the mine
The communities that make up the No to Mining Front for a Future of All oppose the San Jose Mine. They say that the application by Fortuna/Cuzcatlán “minimizes the damage in the territories of Central Valleys and argues that the irregularities and illegality of the project are simply an ‘update of works and activities.’”
Notably, the No to Mining Front also “categorically rejects the ‘Canada-Oaxaca Indigenous Encounters 2021’ promoted by Oaxaca state governor Alejandro Murat and Canadian ambassador Graeme C. Clark”. The “Encuentros Indígenas Canadá-Oaxaca 2021” that ran from September 20 to October 8.
The No to Mining Front further states that it has “met on different occasions with representatives of the Canadian embassy to denounce the effects of the San José project.” It adds it has not received “any favourable response”.
The mine’s controversial history
NACLA reports: “In March 2009, a group of residents protested this violation of their rights by setting up an encampment at the entrance to the mine. In May, 1,000 state and federal police—acting at the request of the mining company and its local political allies—evicted protesters using helicopters, tear gas, and dogs.”
The mine began production in September 2011.
El Universal has reported that there has been four deaths and eight people shot in direct relation to the mine between 2010 and 2012.
Those concerns continue as freight truck transporters affiliated with the Confederación de Trabajadores de México (CTM) demonstrated on October 25 in front of SEMARNAT demanding that the federal government issue a decision in favour of an MIA.
El Universal reports that hundreds of workers from the mining company had also demonstrated on October 12 to “stop the harassment of small groups of people opposed to mining” and for “anti-mining groups” to stop lying about their work.
And Saúl Molina, the Secretary General of the Union of the Mining Industry, reportedly stated at a protest on October 25: “We are not going to let them close down … even if blood runs, we are going to defend it.”
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-Mexico began accompanying Educa Oaxaca in May 2013.