Mazatlán will host the First International Mining Congress

From May 22 to 30, Mazatlán will host the First International Mining Congress, which will be held at the Convention Center.

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At a press conference, the undersecretary for Tourism Promotion and Operation, Sylvia Ruiz Coppel, representing the Secretary of Tourism Óscar Pérez Barros, said that they expect the attendance of more than a thousand people, both from the country and internationally, highlighting that the intervention of mining companies from different parts, and an exhibition area that will consist of 144 stands.

In this sense, the head of the Sectur said that it is a program that will touristically promote Mazatlán and Sinaloa, in addition to the importance of supporting the mining industry in carrying out this program that will make the work and the results that have been achieved in the entity.

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For his part, the Director of Mining of the State Government, Alfredo Villegas Padilla, pointed out that it is an event that previously occurred every two years with the name of “Juniors”, and that it is now recovered by indications of the Governor of the State Quirino Ordaz Coppel and the support of the Ministry of Tourism.

This is a program that will allow the promotion of Sinaloan and foreign mining companies that work in the entity, and for this occasion, it will work on the congress model, which means that it will be three times larger than the previous one, added Villegas Padilla.

The conference was also attended by Melissa Peralta, coordinator of the Congress, and José Luis Castro Inzunza, director of the Mining Cluster.

* Specialists from various countries

* They expect about 1,400 people

With the presence of 1,400 people, some experts from Canada, the United States, Peru, and Chile, from May 26 to 30 of this year, the First International Mining Congress will take place at the Mazatlán International Convention Center.

The mining companies already have 30% of the territory in Sinaloa (and its water, of course): 1 million 750 thousand hectares

According to the Mining Panorama of the State of Sinaloa, published by the Mexican Geological Service, 1 million 750 thousand hectares of the 5 million 809 thousand 200 that make up the entire territory have been transferred to mining in the state, that is, almost a third (30.13 percent).

By locating on the map the points for the exploitation of gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc, the strip of the Sierra Madre Occidental adjacent to Chihuahua and Durango can be seen, where most of the rivers that cross the state are born before to flow into the Pacific Ocean.

“They extract water from the water tables and return it contaminated; the concessions are enormous and are located next to streams or rivers ”, explained Sandra Guido, director of the organization Conselva, Costas y Communities

30 percent of the territory of Sinaloa is concessioned to mining, one of the most intensive industries in the use of water.

Although the validity of a concession is not always the same as an active mine, most have permission to operate for up to half a century and exploit the aquifers with very lax regulations, which do not protect populations from possible contaminating spills, warns Conselva Costas

This is especially risky in a geography like Sinaloa, characterized by its eleven rivers, and its wealth in tributaries and large dams, on which the economy and human health depend.

This is something that this civil association has emphasized in the hands of the collective Voces Unidas por el Agua, which amalgamates a number of organizations, businessmen and activists in southern Sinaloa in favor of the conservation of water resources.

“They extract water from the water tables and return it contaminated; the concessions are enormous, but when you go to the active mines they are located next to streams or rivers, and this is due to the large volumes of water that the mining operation requires, ”explained the activist.

According to the Mining Panorama of the State of Sinaloa, published by the Mexican Geological Service (SGM) in August, 1 million 750 thousand hectares of the 5 million 809 thousand 200 that make up the entire territory have been transferred to mining in Sinaloa, that is to say, almost a third part (30.13 percent).

By locating on the map the points for the exploitation of gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc, the strip of the Sierra Madre Occidental adjacent to Chihuahua and Durango can be seen, where most of the rivers that cross the state are born before to flow into the Pacific Ocean.

In total, there are 1,951 concessions granted to national and foreign companies until 2015 in thirteen regions: Choix, El Fuerte, San Blas, Sinaloa, Mocorito, Badiraguato, Culiacán, El Salado, Cosalá, San Ignacio, Mazatlán, Concordia and Rosario.

Although the document does not provide more recent information, the State Government’s policy has been to open doors to the extractive industry, which has been included in strategic economic activities. It even has incentives and facilities for investment.

 Governor Quirino Ordaz Coppel installed the Committee for the Competitiveness of the Mining Sector, for which, it was reported, an investment of 2 billion pesos had arrived in Sinaloa through different projects.

A month later at the IV Mining Investment and Promotion Seminar, the Secretary of Economic Development, Javier Lizárraga Mercado, explained that mining has great potential in the state for contributing development in marginalized areas and attracting foreign direct investment. However, until the last year this sector did not exceed 1% of GDP.

In total, there are 1,951 concessions granted to national and foreign companies until 2015 in thirteen regions of Sinaloa. Photo: Northwest.

MINES FINISH WITH WATER

According to a study by the Cartocritical initiative, the mining industry extracted almost 437 million cubic meters of water during 2014.

“This is enough water to cover the human needs of the entire population of Baja California Sur, Colima, Campeche and Nayarit during the same period,” exemplifies the report.

The most voracious mining groups were Grupo México, Goldcorp Inc, Arcelor Mitlal México, Primero Mining Corporation and Pondercel, according to the review carried out at the Public Registry of Water Rights (Redpa).

In Sinaloa, eight national water concession titles were issued to mining companies. And in that year they extracted 1 million 483 thousand 613.70 cubic meters, in a state where economic activities compete strongly for water, a resource that in a greater proportion is monopolized by the agricultural sector.

The titles were in the name of: Minerales y Minas Mexicanas SA de CV, First Majestic Silver Corporation, Minera Río Tinto SA de CV, Cementos Sinaloa SA de CV, Minas San Luis SA de CV, Minera Humaya SA de CV and Grupo Calidra SA de CV, which operate in the center, north and south of the state.

In a Northwest consultation to the concessions granted by the National Water Commission (Conagua), additional authorizations were found, issued from 2015 to date.

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Among them are Met Sin Industriales SA de CV (547,500 m3); Oro Gold México SA de CV with two concessions where the authorized volume for its capture is not specified. It was also found one from 2010 that had not been considered in the first study, awarded to Minera La Rastra (209,920 m3).

For Conselva, it is worrying because there are already overexploited water tables, while the Mexican Geological Service does not consider variables such as the location of bodies of water or populations to continue authorizing mining permits.

THE CONCESSIONS 

Although mining has developed in Sinaloa since Colonia, the opening of local authorities has been reflected in a new boom. Since 2002, the increasing trend has been maintained both in the number of permits and in the concession territory. That year, 894 permits had been issued, adding the exploitation and exploration permits in a total of 385 thousand hectares.

Three years later, due to changes in the Mining Law, the single concession is issued, which has facilitated paperwork for the mining consortiums, to such an extent that by 2006 there were already more than 676 thousand hectares, distributed in 1,138 permits.

Neither the confrontations between armed groups in the highlands, during the war against drug trafficking of former President Felipe Calderón, stopped the release of permits for the exploitation of minerals since growth was boosted as of 2009. That year the value of Mining production rose from 976.19 million pesos to one thousand 944.46 million, with the exploitation of gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, and iron.

And so it continued until it reached a peak, in 2014, of 7,248 million pesos. From there came a decline motivated, in part, by the drop in metals in the international market.

However, there are several factors for which mining does not generate the expected benefits for the municipalities where it is established or for its inhabitants. This is explained by Juan Manuel Mendoza Guerrero, leader of the Academic Corps of the Migratory Movement and Regional Development of the UAS Faculty of Social Sciences.

Firstly, he points out the environmental costs, especially the contamination of groundwater tables, which he described as externalities that are not valued in the short term by the promoters of economic development, but later turn out to be costly for local communities.

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And second, that the taxes do not stay in the municipalities because the fiscal addresses of the companies are located in other regions or countries.

“The underlying debate is between those who bet on progress in the short term and those who see the consequences for the environment, where we do not see many of the impacts, such as the contamination of groundwater tables, until they begin to be seen damage to the health of animals or people ”, he reflected.

Author of a study of Gross Domestic Product in the municipalities of Sinaloa, sponsored by Codesin, the academic commented that the mining municipalities were the ones that made the least contributions to GDP, at least from 2006 to 2012 when the research was done.

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Although the Mining Fund was created with the 2014 Tax Reform to promote social impact works in mining areas, with the collection of 3 percent of the average value of production, in Sinaloa the impacts of this policy have not yet been evaluated public.

On the other hand, Mendoza pointed out that a large part of the companies are foreigners who evade stricter regulations in their countries, and by working in relaxed conditions they allow them to expand operations and their profit margin.

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WHO PROTECTS THE WATER?

Conselva’s proposal is to review state legislation and regulate the location of mining plants to prevent contamination in rivers and reservoirs.

In addition to creating a real registry of those who are engaged in mining and avoiding spills of mining tailings, such as the one that occurred in Pánuco in 2014, and this year in Urique, Chihuahua, whose waste would have reached the Fuerte river in Sinaloa.

And despite the fact that the legal framework that regulates mineral extraction is at the federal level, state governments can resort to legal instruments to protect water and its citizens, said Sandra Guido.

He clarified that the issue does not only concern environmental laws, but others that have to do with economic and urban development.

“Although there is federal legislation, it is important that the state regulates the location of the mines, because it is the one that ultimately keeps the waste and the impacts,” he stressed.

Something that compounds the risks, he said, is that there are an undetermined number of business that work with mercury, a highly toxic substance, that does not fall under federal law.

“They are irregular but they cannot be called illegal either.”

Although on the other hand, illegal mining also develops with companies that do not present manifestations of environmental impact, accused the researcher, who is a biologist and teacher in marine ecology.

The problem is extensive and complex throughout the state, but in southern Sinaloa, Conselva sees critical points in the Baluarte river reservoirs, where a large number of mines operate, and in the aforementioned Pánuco river in the municipality of Concordia.

The call is to act on time.

Source: sel, sinembargo

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