Protesters Demand the Authorization of Minera Cuzcatlán’s MIA
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Protesters Demand the Authorization of Minera Cuzcatlán’s MIA

Photo by:   Alex Radelich
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Paloma Duran By Paloma Duran | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Fri, 11/19/2021 - 10:49

Approximately 800 workers from the Minera Cuzcatlán and residents of San José del Progreso, Oaxaca, site where the company operates, protested to demand the authorization of the company's environmental permit (MIA). Without the permit, the mine would have to close, affecting more than 10,000 families who depend on mining.

Protesters have expressed that if SEMANRNAT does not approve the extension of the company's MIA, which expired on Oct. 3, 2021, the main source of employment in the area will be lost. The municipal president of San José del Progreso, Amador Jaime Vázquez, emphasized that 1,200 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs will  be lost if authorities deny the permit to the company.

The protest began on Nov. 16 and will continue until SEMARNAT agrees to approve the company's MIA and thus ensure the continuity of its operations , the protesters said. The union leader representing the workers of the Cuzcatlán Mining Company, Saúl Molina Jiménez, said there has been a dialogue between the authorities, company and other interested parties. However, there have been no substantial developments.

SEMARNART said that the company’s approval will depend primarily on consultation with nearby indigenous Zapotec communities. However, it has not provided information on how and when it will be, even though the project has run out of time.

In 2009, SEMARNAT granted an environmental permit to Minera Cuzcatlán that authorized the construction, execution and maintenance of the San José Mine until October 2021. In May, the company applied to extend its permit for an additional 10 years. The extension is a standard procedure that is generally granted when companies comply with the requirements as Minera Cuzcatlán did, the company reported. Nevertheless, its application was rejected. Currently, the company continues to operate thanks to a provisional injunction from a federal court. However, it is only temporary.

The company is currently working with SEMARNAT and the government to solve this problem. However, in the absence of a formal response to its request for an extension of its permit, the company has initiated a judicial process in the Federal Administrative Court to continue operating.

Photo by:   Alex Radelich

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