Popular Consulations for Mining Projects to Be Further PromotedBy Paloma Duran | Thu, 10/28/2021 - 10:07
Popular consultations for the use of land for mining projects will continue to guarantee the rights of indigenous peoples, said Tonatiuh Herrera, Deputy Minister of Development and Environmental Regulations, SEMARNAT. CAMIMEX said that the industry supports the popular consultation. However, the lack of specific dates for its application generates uncertainty.
During the 34th International Mining Convention, Herrera announced that SEMARNAT continues to promote more popular consultations for mining projects since many models that some companies, especially Canadians, are implementing in Mexico do not work. Herrera stressed that while in Canada the indigenous population does not reach 3 percent, in Mexico it is around 15 percent, for which another approach is needed. In addition, Herrera said that Canadian companies should not be a role model because they began to make consulations only because they were labeled a requirement to carry on with mining operations.
Gutiérrez emphasized that it is no longer enough to have decrees that take care of the environment and indigenous communities, but rather social instruments. “Decrees are not enough, everyone knows that. We need social actors who in turn need an instrument; this instrument is the popular consultation. I came here to say that we need more consultation in this country,” he stressed.
Tonatiuh closed his participation saying that he hopes that popular consultations are carried out with care, respecting the law and, most importantly, "listening especially to those who inhabit the territory, who should have more voice and vote."
CAMIMEX responded that companies that are part of the Chamber, which represent 90 percent of the mining value in Mexico, do not oppose consultations. However, the fact that there are no set dates for their application generates speculation in the sector and communities. Karen Flores, Director, CAMIMEX, said that there must also be clear rules on how to carry out consultations, which must be based on the General Consultation Law.
Previously, the mining sector had already asked SEMARNAT for greater certainty regarding permits. Herrera said stricter assessments have been put in place that must be met without question if miners want to continue with their projects. In addition, he emphasized that it is the miner´s responsibility to present responsible projects. “Miners must not only comply with environmental regulations, but also consult with communities before starting their projects. My last recommendation is: do not look for shortcuts. Comply with all social and environmental obligations.”