Court Grants Permanent Injunction to Minera Cuzcatlán’s EIA
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Court Grants Permanent Injunction to Minera Cuzcatlán’s EIA

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Fernando Mares By Fernando Mares | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Fri, 03/31/2023 - 17:42

Canada-based Fortuna Silver Mines announced that a federal administrative court has granted a permanent injunction to its Mexican subsidiary Compañía Minera Cuzcatlán, allowing it to continue operating its San Jose Mine for 12 years. 

In 2021, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) made an error in granting an Environmental Impact Authorization (EIA) to the San Jose mine, reducing its 12-year permit to a two-year extension. Minera Cuzcatlán reported that it was working with the authorities to resolve the issue but initiated legal action to challenge SEMARNAT's notification and confirm the 12-year extension granted. The company argued that it explicitly requested a 12-year extension, which was accepted by SEMARNAT and no other term was even mentioned in the procedures nor discussed with SEMARNAT.

Minera Cuzcatlán's original permit was granted in 2009, which allowed it to operate San Jose until October 2021. Then the company applied to extend its permit, which is a standard procedure generally simple when companies comply with certain requirements. However, SEMARNAT rejected the application and the company continued operating thanks to a temporary injunction from a federal court. After months of demands from workers, residents of nearby communities and company representatives, the company received approval for the expansion of its San José mine, avoiding closure. Despite the challenges, Minera Cuzcatlán reported that its operations were not compromised and would continue working to promote its projects and their benefits to surrounding communities as reported by MBN. 

Jorge Ganoza, Director and CEO, Fortuna Silver Mines, said it was a great achievement since it proves the legitimacy of the company’s claims. “Once again, the court has agreed with our legal arguments and has granted us protection against this troubling and repeated attempt by SEMARNAT to affect an EIA they themselves granted to the company only 13 months ago. We are extremely encouraged by the court’s decision, which is consistent with our views that the 12-year EIA is in material compliance with all applicable laws. The injunction allows the San Jose mine to continue operating under the terms of the 12-year EIA until this matter is finally resolved,” he added. 

The company added that it will maintain its commitment to work with communities in relation to the mine, to enhance and expand social benefits throughout the region. The company highlighted that the San Jose mine is the largest employer in the Valles Centrales region since it provides employment to 1,200 people.

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