National Human Rights Commission’s Recommendations Unfounded
Pitalla Mine, operator of the mining unit “La Colorada”, subsidiary of Argonaut Gold informed that allegations made by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) concerning damage to the environment; the right to potable , an living and medical attention derived from its mining activities are unfounded.
Pitalla Mine has presented reports of environmental compliance to the current normative and has been inspected by qualified personnel of the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) and SEMARNAT.
According to Margarita Bejarano, Director of Social Corporative Responsibility and ESG of Argonaut Gold, the assessment conducted by the CNDH is subjective and lacking technical viability, because it was not carried out by specialized staff. In addition, it accused the agency for being incompetent to diagnose reports in mining matters.
Furthermore, Alfredo Phillips, Vice President Corporate Affairs & ESG and Director for Argonaut Gold, said in an MBN Mining Forum “CSR usually focuses on what the companies are interested in, real focus should be on empowering the communities.” He also noted that successful programs are those that are focused on understanding the community requirements instead of pushing forward company beliefs. Argonaut has received for 10 consecutive years the recognition of Socially Responsible Enterprise, generating 430 direct and 2,150 indirect jobs.
Moreover, there have been two prior investigation cases that have determined there is no need for legal action against Argonaut Gold.
The Mine has an integral analysis of the environmental impact emitted by the General Direction of Environmental Impact and Risk of SEMARNAT. The analysis demonstrates that the mining project is in line with the community’s right to access potable water. There are trimestral reports showing that the corporation does not pollute underground nor superficial waters.
Finally, Argonaut notes that the implementation of CNDH’s recommendations would violate the legal framework and that it should consider that SEMARNAT issued authorizations once the Pitalla complex complied with the necessary requirements in the current legislation.
Nevertheless, the company has been previously denied the Environment Permit by SEMARNAT in its Cerro del Gallo project in Durango. SEMARNAT explained it denied the permit because the company did not fully explain the actions it would take and their possible impacts. “It is considered that the minimum information necessary to determine the environmental viability of the project was not submitted, considering that there is no clarity regarding the works and/or activities that make up the project(...) Furthermore, there is no certainty about the recent, cumulative and synergistic impacts of the project's execution, in addition to the ability to prevent, mitigate and/or compensate for these impacts,” stated SEMARNAT in its Ecological Gazette.