Mexican mine continues to operate despite acid spill

Richard Mark Glover

ALPINE - Mexico’s second wealthiest billionaire and principle owner of Grupo Mexico, German Larrea Mota Velasco, has so far not commented on last month’s mining spill 25 miles south of Arizona, sai

d to be the worst ecological accident in Mexico’s history.

“This is the worst natural disaster provoked by the mining industry in the modern history of Mexico,” said Mexican Environment Minister Juan José Guerra Abud on August 26 and reported by Forbes Magazine this week. 

Despite the 10 million gallons of copper sulfate acid that was released into the Sonora and Bacanuch Rivers by a breached dam at the Buenavista del Cobre site, the world’s fourth largest copper mine continues to operate.

Profepa, Mexico’s environmental protection agency, plans to fine Grupo Mexico USD 3 million and has opened a criminal investigation as to whether faulty maintenance at the mine’s holding tanks facilitated the spill.

Meantime people who live along the rivers, primarily farmers, are no longer able to irrigate their crops. Forbes reports 24,000 people have had their water supply affected. Mexican media outlet teleSUR, advises other than the mine itself, economic activity in the area has come to a “complete standstill.”

In addition to operating mines worldwide, Grupo Mexico also owns FerroMex, Mexico’s largest railroad, including South Orient Rail Line, a railroad that runs from Mexico through Presidio, Alpine and terminates in San Angelo, Texas. They are also owners of the Asarco copper smelting plant in El Paso, a super fund site as well as 21 other super fund sites in the USA.

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