Government Appears to Cancel Almaden Minerals’ ConcessionsBy Fernando Mares | Mon, 07/25/2022 - 15:30
The Ministry of Economy (SE) appears to have canceled the concessions of Minera Gorrión, the Mexican subsidiary of Almaden Minerals, to operate its open-pit mining projects in Ixtacamaxtitlan, Puebla. The information comes from organization Fundar, which reported that SE told Indigenous communities and ejidos that the company is not allowed to carry out mining activities on their territory as a result of the cancellation.
Fundar reported that the local Nahua community, which formed the Alliance of Ejidos and Communities in Defence of the Land, Water and Life Atcolhua, was made aware of the cancelations. According to the organization, the notification included the registration statements issued by the SE’s Public Mining Registry, which contained Cerro Grande and Cerro Grande 2 concessions, both property of Minera Gorrión. The company not yet commented on the matter.
According to Fundar, the notification overrules the company’s permits. Therefore, Almaden would not have the legal justification to keep developing any mining-related activities. Fundar urged the company to refrain from entering the territory. It also pleaded with the government to not authorize any further permits regarding the use of land, construction, environmental impact, use of water, forestry, or any other issue related to the canceled concessions. It also urged the Federal Attorney’s Office to keep an eye on the proceedings.
Fundar furthermore implored President López Obrador to fulfill his commitment of not granting new concessions for open-pit mining. The organization reported that its petition was received by the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, María Albores. The petition read that “... the historic commitment made by the Mexican government is to protect the environment and it will do so along with its peoples including Indigenous and agrarian communities, since nothing is more valuable than life and dignity of the population.”
In May, 2022, MBN reported that Almaden Minerals interpreted a draft decision from Supreme Court to rule by and large in its favor: Mexico’s highest court did cancel the company’s concessions but argued that Almaden complied with the law, forcing authorities to carry out a proper indigenous consultation process as required by the international treaties Mexico adhered to. The company offered its help to SE in order to quickly and properly carry out the consultation and stated that it was the government's duty to reissue its mineral titles. Almaden Minerals had also announced that its Environmental Impact Assessment (MIA) for the project was nearly completed and would be released once its Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) was finalized.