López Obrador Met with Vulcan Materials CEO
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López Obrador Met with Vulcan Materials CEO

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Fernando Mares By Fernando Mares | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Wed, 05/25/2022 - 22:10

This Monday, President López Obrador received Thomas Hill, CEO, Vulcan Materials, after tension between the company and the Mexican government escalated following the latter’s accusation that the company to extracts and exports limestone to the US without the required permits. 


The two-hour private meeting was held in Palacio Nacional, the Mexican delegation consisted of Adán López, Minister of Interior Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard, Minister of Foreign Affairs, María Albores, Minister of the Environment and Esteban Moctezuma, the Mexican Ambassador to the US. After the meeting finished, neither side came out with a statement. 


The US Ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, attended the meeting, though he declared he was there to “address other issues”. 


Recently, a group of republican and democrat representatives sent a letter to US President Joe Biden, expressing their concern about what they called an “anti-entrepreneurial rhetoric” coming from López Obrador. The group argues that the Mexican government has carried out a series of “attacks and violations” on the USMCA agreement and urged Biden to take action. The letter also refers to the suspension of Vulcan’s activities, arguing that it is not the only company that has been on the receiving end of Mexico’s actions.


“Vulcan Materials Company is not the only US organization that has faced the Mexican government’s harassment… There have been a series of surprising cases, particularly in the energy sector, where several US companies have been forced to close their doors,” the letter stated.


“We urge you to prioritize and address the recent aggression of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his administration against companies with investments and operations in Mexico… If we allow these aggressions to continue, they will undermine the mutually beneficial economic cooperation among our nations and make companies look for more predictable and adequate markets elsewhere,” continued the letter. 


On May 5, 2022, the Mexican government ordered the immediate cease of extraction and exploitation activities at Vulcan’s facilities in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo. According to the federal government, this was ordered because the company did not comply with an agreement they reached, where the company committed to stop its activities in exchange for resources to transform its facilities into a tourist attraction. 


Recently the Mexican Mining Chamber (CAMIMEX) decried the government’s toughness to the mining industry, referring to obstacles in the permitting process, the freezing of concessions and the recently approved Mining Law reform. In addition, the Mexican Ministry of Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) supported Morelos inhabitants’ protests against open pit mining carried out by Zacatecas Silver

Photo by:   Evan Demicoli

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