Earthworks

More Mine Waste Spills in Mexico: Where’s the Oversight?

Shreema Mehta's avatar
By Shreema Mehta

November 6, 2014

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Nearly 11,000 tons of mine waste spilled into this waterway in northern Mexico.

Almost 11,000 tons of mine pollution flowed into a nearby stream from the Two Gentleman's gold and silver mine in the town of Concordia.

Officials from Propefa, the environmental investigation agency, are currently examining the composition of the spill and its potential impacts. Meanwhile, state officials urged area residents to refrain from swimming or eating fish from the nearby river. The National Human Rights commission has launched its own investigation to determine whether human rights have been violated due to the spill.

Mining companies often tout their tailings dams and containment structures to be fail proof, but just this year we have seen several river spills from defects in tailings pondsfrom rainfall.

Not to mention Mount Polley, whose impacts from 25 cubic million meters are still are still being felt now and will continue for decades to come.

In light of these mining disasters in Mexico, there is some (tentatively) good news to come from our partners in Baja California Sur, Mexico: The company Invecture suspended this project after community members and business leaders protested the mine's development for the havoc it would wreak on the area's fragile watershed.

Still, Invecture is not the first company to try to dig up gold in Baja California, and this suspension may be temporary.  Given these recent mine waste accidents and apparent lack of oversight within the mining industry, Baja Californians, who recently experienced a hurricane, are right to be worried about the potential impacts of Los Cardones should a holding pond leak or a heavy rain falls.

Tagged with: tailings, rivers, mine waste, mexico, baja california sur

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