Zapotec communities reject Vancouver-based Fortuna Silver Mines in Oaxaca, Mexico

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo: “Municipal and Agrarian Authorities that make up the Front of Zapotec Communities, proceed to the signing of the Assembly Act, formalizing their determination of NO TO MINING!”

Vancouver-based Fortuna Silver Mines began operating its controversial San José mine in Oaxaca through its Mexican subsidiary Cuzcatlán in September 2011. The permit for the operation of this mine expired on October 23 of this year.

This past July, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) rejected a new environmental permit for the company, but on October 25, Fortuna stated it had obtained a provisional injunction from a Mexican federal court that allows for the continued operation of the San José mine beyond the expiry of its permit.

On December 10, key excerpts from this statement from the No to Mining for a Future for All Front highlighted that:

The ten communities that make up the No to Mining for a Future of All Front held an Indigenous consultation in the Regional Assembly in Santa Catarina Minas, Ocotlán.

Despite the agreement made with SEMARNAT on October 25, 2021, to consult the ten communities affected by the mine, the agency belittled that commitment and decided to carry out a consultation leaving out six communities.

Given this, the Authorities of the Front decided not to participate in the consultation process convened by SEMARNAT and to carry out an Indigenous consultation expressed as self-consultation, in exercise of their right of self-determination as a Zapotec people.

On December 10, the first Regional Assembly in Monte del Toro, San Matías Chilazoa, San Martín de los Cansecos, Magdalena Ocotlán, Santa Catarina Minas ratified the determination to cancel the mining concessions. On December 11, a second Regional Assembly will be held in San Dionisio Ocotepec, Tlacolula, in which their rejection of mining will be formalized.

The Authorities demanded that SEMARNAT deny any temporary or definitive permit requested by the mining company Cuzcatlán that allows them to continue operating in our territories.

The mining company is not only polluting the water tables, the decrease in water in the wells derived from its operation, is leaving without the vital liquid to the communities that depend on water for the irrigation of their crops.

The Cuzcatlán mining company say the company generates around 1,200 jobs, but the social and environmental damages affect more than 25,000 people.

The Authorities of the Front reiterate that the mining company Cuzcatlán does not have our consent to carry out exploration and / or exploitation of minerals in our territories and the Central Valleys of Oaxaca.

Their full statement can be read in Spanish here.

We continue to follow this situation with great concern.

The Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project began accompanying Services for an Alternative Education (Educa Oaxaca) in May 2013.

Photo: “The organization and unity of the No to Mining for a Future of All Front is the strength and the engine to claim our right to autonomy, to the territory as Zapotec communities, therefore, we demand the cancellation of the Cuzcatlán mining project “

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