The flagstone mines have become one of the economic activities of the municipality of Tzimol, especially the ejido of Ochusjob, where the mines from which the stone is extracted are located. It is sold not only in municipalities of Chiapas but also in states such as Michoacán, Sonora, Veracruz, Puebla, Querétaro, Oaxaca, and the State of Mexico.
Starting at 6 in the morning, in the Ochusjob mines, it is possible to hear hammer blows, chisels, sounds of shovels, grinders and stone cutters, a sign that mine workers are extracting meters and square meters of stone which are taken to different municipalities of the state such as Las Rosas, Tapachula, Ocosingo, Socoltengo, Venustiano Carranza, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Comitán, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Arriaga, and Chiapa de Corzo.
Ochusjob is an ejido that is located just 3 kilometers from the municipal seat of Tzimol, there are dozens of excavations that began around 12 years ago, according to the workers of the place they point out that the stone extraction began out of concern and curiosity realizing that when excavating, flat stones were found that could be removed in layers, and with slight cuts and sanding it was possible to give them different shapes to attract attention.
Over time the mineworkers began to commercialize the flagstones, at first they sold their product by trip or by bulk, then they noticed the good acceptance that the stones had had, since the orders were more and more frequent, and clients began to arrive not only from municipalities near Comitán and Tzimol but also from other regions of the state.
During the first years of extraction, the stones were sold for just 10 or 15 pesos per square meter, later as demand increased, prices rose to 50 or 65 pesos per square meter, later the prices fell to around 30 and 35 pesos per meter as of today.
The popularity of these stones has transcended nationally, according to the workers they have sent large shipments to the states of Puebla, Nuevo León, Tabasco, Jalisco among others, before this, the workers began to sell stones in different presentations, such as rulers, plates, and in the form of bricks, to obtain better profits and not only depend on the sales per square meter of the stones and in this way make the sale more profitable.
At first, only the stones were sold, per trip per heap, then we had to manage to shape the stones and make them more striking to attract more customers, so we started making circles, rectangles with a very basic tool, ”said Rigoberto Ortega, a mine worker.
In each mine, 6 to 8 people work for 8 to 10 hours, each with specific activities, some are dedicated to the extraction of the stone, others to the elaboration of detailed pieces, and while the rest do hauling work in the area. from extraction to the processing area, the mines have a depth of up to 15 meters, on the walls of the mines, it is possible to see how the plates separate from each other, each one with a thickness of around 30 centimeters.
The flagstone is used mainly to detail the facades of houses, in haciendas and ranches which obtain a colonial style, in addition to being glued on fences and walls, floors can also be built with this material, now with the help of tools such as electric cutters and polishing machines workers make table bases, sinks, bricks, bases for benches among other decorations mainly for homes decoration.
Over time we have learned to make more and more things, and not only sell the stones, now we sell small pieces such as bricks, arches, sinks, and benches, we try to innovate so as not to stagnate with the same product, and thus continue selling, mentioned Alexis Gutiérrez, a mine worker.
During the six-year term of the governor Manuel Velasco Coello (2012-2018) in the remodeling of the main boulevards of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, stones from Ochusjob were used to line the ridges and the planters, during those years, in the ejido the price of the slab soared up to 70 pesos per square meter.