Minera Cuzcatlán, a Mexican subsidiary of Fortuna Silver Mines, reinstated its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the San José mine for 12 years thanks to a ruling by the Federal Administrative Court. The company says that this news brings certainty to the mining sector, as otherwise it would mean that granted permits could be canceled at any time by the government.
On Jan. 2, 2023, Minera Cuzcatlán received a SEMARNAT resolution that canceled the extension of its EIA. The ministry announced that a new analysis of the case would be carried out. SEMARNAT argued that the permit should be ruled invalid since it lacks the authority to grant an extension for more than half of the company's EIA extension request. Jorge Ganoza, President and CEO, Minera Cuzcatlán, says that the cancellation was unfounded. In addition, the EIA extension granted in 2021 confirmed that the company's operations complied with regulations.
The ruling of the Federal Administrative Court dismissed SEMARNAT's arguments to annul Minera Cuzcatlán’s EIA. The court emphasizes that the San Jose mine duly complies with the environmental requirements and continues to operate under the terms of the MIA. Fortuna Silver Mines informed that the court's decision could be appealed by SEMARNAT. If appealed, Minera Cuzcatlán's final injunction that was granted in March 2023 will remain in force.
At the time, Ganoza said it was a great achievement, as it demonstrates 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,” says Ganoza.
The company adds that it will maintain its commitment to work with communities close to the mine to enhance 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.