Non-governmental organizations have accused a Canadian mining company of conducting exploration in Puebla without environmental permits.
Almaden Minerals Ltd. has continued surveying potential gold and silver mining areas in spite of an application to do so having been turned down by the Environment Secretariat (Semarnat) on the grounds that the company did not indicate its activities would comply with official regulations, which it had allegedly violated in the past.
The rejection, issued in February, effectively prohibited Almaden from continuing to study the area located in the municipality of Ixtacamaxtitlán, the newspaper Reforma reported yesterday.
“It was two years last Wednesday that [Almaden Minerals’] concession permits were suspended. There are several reasons why the firm cannot continue to operate, but it still does,” said Diana Pérez of the Mexican Institute for Community Development (Imdec).
She said the firm has failed to inform its shareholders of the situation, reporting instead that it intends to carry out further “aggressive explorations.”
Patricia Legarreta of the Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (Poder) said Almaden operates through two subsidiaries that apply for exploration and prospecting permits to sidestep Semarnat’s prohibition.
According to a human rights impact assessment conducted by the NGOs, Almaden is violating the rights to health, informed consultation and access to water of the people of Ixtacamaxtitlán.
The NGOs say the firm has claimed in reports to shareholders that it has drilled to a depth of 700 meters, surpassing the permitted limit of 150 meters and reaching the underground water supply of 15 towns.
They say the unauthorized drilling has left several farming properties in the Apulco River watershed without water, and caused pollution.
They also charge that Almaden Minerals has failed to inform or consult with the public about its activities.
The company bought the 14,000-hectare claim, called the Tuligtic project, in 2001, and discovered what it calls the Ixtaca gold and silver deposit in 2010.
Source: Reforma (sp)