The wealth of the Mexican mines, an ecological disaster for the country

The wealth of the Mexican mines, an ecological disaster for the country

Minerals in Mexico are concessional or not. The concessions are the minerals that according to the Mining Law, can only be exploited with the permit or concession granted by the Ministry of Economy; for example: gold, silver, lead, copper, zinc, carbon, coke, iron, manganese, sulfur, barite, kaolin, celestite, diatomite, dolomite, fluorite, feldspar, phosphorite, graphite, salt, sodium sulfate, manganese sulfate , wollastonite and gypsum, among others.

Non-concessional minerals do not require a permit from the government to be exploited; basically they are those used for construction such as sand, marble, tezontle and quarry, among others. Other minerals that are considered non-concessional (because only the government can exploit them) are hydrocarbons (oil) and radioactive minerals (uranium).

Our country currently ranks second in the world in the production of silver, bismuth and fluorite; stands out in the production of arsenic, lead, cadmium, antimony, zinc, barite, graphite and gypsum, among others. The minerals it exports to the US are silver, copper, zinc, and manganese.

Iron to Hong Kong and Lead to Brazil. Non-metallic minerals are: Sulfur, Fluorite, Gypsum and Barite to the USA. Go out to Japan.

In Mexico there are 619 mining companies, among the most prominent are Canadian and North American companies. One of the mining companies is GRUPO MEXICO DE DESARROLLO is one of the largest mining groups in Mexico. It is a holding company for several companies operating in mining, smelting and refining in Mexico. The company exploits, refines and sells coal, copper, gold, silver, zinc and other minerals. Its smelters, refineries, and coke plants make anodes, sulfuric acid, silt, bituminous paints, creosote, and others. The firm owns 74% shares in the North Pacific railroad. ANGANGUEO, CANANEA, CARBON COAHUILA, CATANAVE, CHARCAS, CUAJONE, DIEU-MERCI, EL ARCO, EL LOA, EL SALADO, ESPERANZA PROPERTY, LA CARIDAD, LOS CHANCAS, MISSION COMPLEX, NUEVA ROSITA OP COAL MINE, PASTA DE CONCHOS METALLURGICAL COAL MINE , RAY MINE COMPLEX, SAN MARTIN (MEXICO), SANTA BARBARA (MEXICO), SANTA EULALIA (MEXICO), SILVER BELL MINE, TANTAHUATAY, TAXCO, TIA MARIA, TOQUEPALA.

The exploitation of minerals for the Mexico group was concessioned by Salinas de Gortari to Jorge Larrea. The heir of the Mexico group is Germán Feliciano Larrea Mota Velasco, the third richest man in Mexico and number 79 in the world, according to the 2013 ranking of Forbes magazine, with a fortune of 13.3 billion dollars. The Bloomberg Index, which is updated daily according to the movement of the shares of the firms where millionaires have stakes, places it at number 117, with 9.9 billion dollars, because this year their companies have not had a shine in the stock markets.

Owner of the company guilty of spilling 40 thousand cubic meters of sulfuric acid in the Bacanuchi and Sonora rivers. Responsible for the death of 65 miners due to lack of security measures at the Pasta de Conchos mine, on February 19, 2006. Cause of the death of five mining workers at the Charcas mine, located in San Luis Potosí and the death of two miners from the mining company Alva Ram de Agujita SA de CV, which worked under a Grupo México (GM) concession. The Pasta de Conchos tragedy in Coahuila, in February 2006, culminated in the breakdown of Larrea and the leader of the National Union of Miners, Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, now exiled in Canada for the same case.

Larrea also owns the subsidiaries of the transportation division of said company, which are Ferromex, Ferrosur, Intermodal México and the North American railroad line Texas Pacific (TP). To the list of its properties are added the mining companies Southern Copper Company in Peru and Asarco in the United States. He also owns Cinemex and 30 percent of the shares of Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP).

During the seventies it was Jorge Larrea Ortega, father of Germán, who was in charge of moving up in the country's metallurgical and steel sector. However, it was during the government of Carlos Salinas de Gortari that the mining company became Grupo México due to changes in the laws to favor Mexican companies. In 1988, it bought government shares in the La Caridad and Cananea mine for $ 680 million, and won the bid for the largest copper mining company in Mexico for $ 475 million, a figure that was below the market price. The Mexico group was preferred because it had promised to give the rest of the payment to the union.

People in Cananea said that Jorge Larrea had received a gift from Salinas. They wondered if he would pay the rest of the money for the purchase of the mine. However, Larrea thought that “he would rather pay the lawyers than give the workers a five for any lawsuit, for any physical wear and tear they had, because he preferred to be sued and the lawsuit would grow old until the workers died or got tired. to follow the demand ”.

Juan Linares says that when Germán took over the business, about the Cananea mine "he said that he was never going to pay for it", even that "he agreed with Elías Morales so that the deadline to win would expire." “If you didn't want to pay 5 percent of the shares, which was what was offered to be able to stay with the mining company, would you pay 95 percent to the government? The mine was a gift they gave them ”, assured the Secretary of the Vigilance Committee.

Juan Linares Montúfar Secretary of the Surveillance Committee of the Mining Union, says that Germán Larrea, despite being a businessman, never shows up and his representatives attend. It has people who are in charge of doing all the mismanagement of the companies. He added that "he is a guy who likes to spend money on buying consciences and authorities." During Felipe Calderón's six-year term, Fernando Gómez Mont, who was part of his lawyers, he put as Secretary of the Interior (Segob), a guy who never walked in politics, he made him part of the government overnight ”. Juan Linares affirmed that with the Buenavista accident, the authorities have not fallen for their game, except for the Governor of Sonora, Guillermo Padrés, since Germán Larrea paid him for his campaign, therefore he is committed, so he cannot be in his against". Regarding the "Tía María" project, he affirmed that it is something very big and he does not mind ending the fauna, flora and everything that is natural. The only thing that interests you is money. He has already owned most of the common lands of Cananea and he did it for the water. Adding that wherever it goes, it leaves nothing but deaths.

The prodigal son of the Larrea family is part of the Board of Televisa and is a Founding member of Grupo Ciudad de México. It has a place within the Administrative Council of the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV) and the Council of the Mexican Stock Market Group. He is also a member of the Administrative Council of Grupo Financiero Banamex (owned by Grupo Financiero Citigroup) and Grupo Comercial América. Likewise, Germán Larrea is an investor in Grupo Transportation Marítima Mexicana (TMM) and in Scotiabank Inverlat. Six years ago, Germán Larrea began a foray into holding shares of Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP) with 5 percent. It was from 2008 to 2011 that he got a 22.1 percent stake in the GAP shares. In that same year, it bought 44 Cinemex movie theaters from The Carlyle Group for 3.5 billion pesos, which is the second largest chain in the country. He also owns MM Cinemas and Cinemas Lumiere, the latter of which was acquired for $ 315 million. At the end of last year he was given the authorization to buy the chain. Although the spill of 40 thousand cubic meters of acidulated copper sulfate in Sonora is already considered the "worst environmental disaster" caused by the country's mining industry, the corresponding authority lacks the powers to completely close the operations of Buena Vista del Cobre, a subsidiary of Grupo México, announced the Ministry of the Environment. "This mishap that arose in the mine, from what some specialists in the field have informed us, could be considered the worst environmental disaster in the country's mining industry, in modern times," said Juan José Guerra Abud, secretary of Environment and Natural Resources.

In a press conference in which the heads of Semarnat, Profepa, Conagua and Cofepris participated to publicize the "Report on actions of the federal government in response to the spill of copper sulfate in the Bacanuchi and Sonora rivers", the officials highlighted the Partial action by Grupo México to contain the toxins, which would once again contaminate the river with the presence of rains. But Guerra Abud pointed out that it is up to the Ministry of Economy to revoke the exploitation contracts of the mining company; however, he stressed that "economic activity cannot be stopped," even if it is high risk

A few weeks after the ecological disaster in Sonora, the environmental authorities explained with four photographs that the spill was caused by the failure of the mooring of a polyethylene pipe - a phenomenon known as tubification - in one of the leachate pools and by the lack of a valve in the pool, attributable to the company. Juan José Guerra insisted that it is false that the accident occurred because of the heavy rains.

Despite the spill of 40 million liters of sulfuric acid, no sanctions or revocations of exploitation permits have been imposed on the mining companies of the Mexico group. In addition to using sulfuric acid, it poisons the subsoil, water tables and rivers. Having other safer and less polluting methods to extract metals. Some methods have been patented by Dr. Ignacio González from the UAM.

In all this pollution problem the famous green party, which promoted that circuses did not use animals in their shows, have not been so energetic with the Mexico group and the terrible damage to the eco system.

Observatory of Mining Conflicts of Latin America (OCMAL)

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