President López Obrador announced yesterday that a controversial gold mining project in Baja California Sur will not go ahead because of environmental concerns.
The president had said previously that the proposed Los Cardones open-pit mine project, located within a buffer zone of the Sierra de Laguna biosphere reserve in the municipality of La Paz, would be put to a public consultation but that plan has now been scrapped.
“I was in La Paz a few months ago and people were asking me to define my position about the mine. The time to define my position has now arrived and I can tell the people of Baja California Sur [that I say] no to the mine,” López Obrador said at a government event in Cabo San Lucas.
The president explained that he doesn’t support the mine “because we have to look after paradise, not destroy paradise.”
López Obrador added that in order for Baja California Sur residents to be able to continue making a living from tourism, “we have to take care of the environment,” and in order to have adequate water supply, “we have to take care of the water in the subsoil.”
Citizens and some politicians have opposed the mine project on the grounds that it could have a negative impact on groundwater in the Sierra de Laguna reserve and because in 2017 a federal tribunal quashed an environmental permit that had been issued for it.
In September last year, residents demanded that then president-elect López Obrador commit to stopping the mine from going ahead, but at the time he was non-committal and instead proposed a consultation.
Yesterday he explained that a public vote, such as those held on the new Mexico City airport and a thermal power plant in Morelos, wasn’t necessary because unlike those projects the mine wasn’t started during the administration of the previous government.
This project, López Obrador said, “would be up to me to start but I say no and that’s within my powers.”
The open-pit mine was to be built by Desarollos Zapal, a subsidiary of Invecture, a Mexican firm linked to Grupo Salinas.
According to the company, the site of the mine has estimated reserves of 1.2 million ounces of gold.
Source: Milenio (sp)