Government Must Solve Mineral Title Issue: Almaden MineralsBy Fernando Mares | Wed, 07/06/2022 - 15:53
The Canada-based silver- and gold-producing company Almaden Minerals announced that the Ministry of Economy (SE) was officially notified of the Supreme Court (SCJN) decision regarding the status of the company’s mineral claims. A draft decision rules that the Mexican Mineral Title Law is constitutional, but that SE should have enabled an indigenous consultation procedure with nearby communities.
The company reported that the SCJN’s draft rules that the SE should declare the company’s mineral titles for the Ixtaca project as “ineffective.” Nevertheless, they will be re-filed while conforming to the Mineral Title Law, following which the company expects that its titles will be reverted to an application status. According to the company, it could then look toward beginning mining activity after SE completes the indigenous consultation process for the disputed area, just as the court ordered.
According to Almaden, SCJN’s decision sets a precedent to further establish procedures for indigenous consultation by authorities. It also clarifies that the issuance of titles does not depend on indigenous consultations, unless there is a significant impact on the indigenous community by the title, like a forced relocation. The company clarified that it is not its intention to hold mineral claims over the land of the indigenous community that initiated the legal case.
Almaden expects SE to carry out the required consultation, as well as re-issue the disputed titles and declared it is open to cooperate further with the authorities and facilitate the government’s execution of its responsibilities. “The ball is now in SE’s court to quickly and effectively complete all the requirements and re-issue the mineral titles. While it is the government’s responsibility to its mineral title issuance procedures, Almaden stands ready to cooperate in any manner it can,” said Duane Poliquin, Chairman, Almaden Minerals.
The company announced that its Environmental Impact Assessment (MIA) is nearly completed. Almaden will submit its application once its Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) and the indigenous consultation are finalized. The company added that although this HRIA is not required by Mexican legislation, it reflects best international practices and produces long-term value for its stakeholders.
In May 2022, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Almaden Minerals, reversing the decision to cancel its two concessions and forcing authorities to carry out a proper indigenous consultation process as required by international treaties Mexico adhered. Authorities have not set a date to carry out the consultation process.
Ixtaca is a gold-silver project located in Puebla, it was discovered in 2010 and according to a feasibility test in 2018, it holds proven and probable reserves of over 85Moz of silver and 1.38Moz of gold.