On May 5, 2022, Mexican authorities instructed a Vulcan Materials subsidiary to stop the extraction of minerals in Quintana Roo, after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised to take legal actions against the company for allegedly breaking an agreement with the government. The company now outlined its own version of the events, arguing it still held all necessary permits.
The US company has operated for over 30 years in the country and qualified the action as “unexpected.” It furthermore considers the government’s actions to go against the latter of the law. For his part, López Obrador has criticized the company for “destroying the environment” of the region.
Vulcan Materials is a leading producers of construction materials such as gravel, sand and crushed stone. The company said that government officials arrived at their Sac Tun limestone quarry with orders to stop the activity.
The company said that it held all the required legal permits to operate and that it considers taking legal action to protect its rights. The company’s local subsidiary, previously known as Calica, owns various concessions in Quintana Roo, where it extracts crushed stone that it then sends to the US to be used for construction.
The Mexican government said in Feb. 2022 that they were negotiating a deal for the resolution of a US$1 billion law suit coming from Vulcan for the closure of a mine near the touristic city of Playa del Carmen and that it had proposed to turn the area into a tourist attraction. According to President López Obrador, the company had agreed to the proposal.
Past Wednesday, the president warned Vulcan about a potential international lawsuit unless they would stop quarrying like they had promised. According to López Obrador, Vulcan Materials’ activities are destroying the environment. He threatened to record a video to show the impact on the local flora and fauna and to file a lawsuit with the UN. He also claims that his tourism-focused proposal is fair and urged Vulcan Materials to decide, adding that he is not considering canceling the project or expropriating the land.
The president said that although the government and Vulcan Materials reached an agreement to stop the company’s limestone exploitation, Calica’s operations continued. López Obrador admitted to feeling “deceived.”
When air observers checked the progress of the Mayan Train Project’s Section 5, they purportedly noticed that the company continued its activities even though it no longer possesses the required permits. López Obrador also presented showed video evidence in which extraction and transport of materials were evident, leading the authorities to intervene.