Social Movement Demands a Territory Free of Open Pit Mining

Civil and community organizations and inhabitants of the Cuenca de la Independencia have come together to demonstrate against the destruction of natural resources caused by the irrational extraction of subterranean water and the exploitation of the open-pit mine that the Canadian mining company Argonaut Gold seeks to operate in Cerro del Gallo in the municipality of Dolores Hidalgo, Cuna de la Independencia Nacional, Guanajuato.

If Cerro del Gallo is detonated, it would be the first open-pit mining in the state and it would use 87 thousand liters of water per hour for this process, while releasing highly toxic chemicals such as sodium cyanide and sulfuric acid. It requires a total area of 26,270 hectares to produce 0.7 grams of gold per 1 ton of soil. It will generate a large amount of waste dispersed in water, soil and air. All this would already aggravate the problems of our territory named in 2019 as an Environmental Emergency Region.

The Social Movement Against Open-Pit Mining and Water Extractivism in the Independence Basin has called for a March on Sunday, November 21 in Dolores Hidalgo. The march will assemble at 10am at the Monument of the Heros of Independence and go to the main garden, in front of the parish of Dolores. Those from San Miguel de Allende who want to participate can car pool at 9:00am at Parque Zeferino.

In 2019, the threat of the extractive project of open pit mining in Cerro del Gallo in the neighboring community of San Anton de las minas, promoted by the Canadian company Argonaut Gold was first disclosed in an assembly in the community of El Sisote. After this assembly, several meetings were held with the municipal president, Miguel Angel Rayas, to demand that he not grant the change in land use. There was no convincing response and the threat remained latent.

Faced with this situation, the Coalition in Defense of the Cuenca de la Independencia CODECIN carried out various actions to publicize the problem--forums, talks, and the painting of collective murals organized together with the Guardians of the Cuenca de la Independencia Collective.

In July 2019, on the "World Day Against Open-pit Mining," they organized a mobilization with a great impact in this municipality. A document of denunciation backed by more than 2,000 signatures was written and delivered to the authorities at the three levels of government: at the municipal level to the president Miguel Angel Rayas, the secretary of governance Luis Ernesto Ayala Torres and Victor Manuel Toledo the then-secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources SEMARNAT.

In December 2019, SEMARNAT issued a resolution with official letter number SGPA/DGIRA/DG/ 09968 denying Argonaut Gold the permits to exploit the open-pit mining project "Cerro del Gallo." It is worth noting that SEMARNAT had previously requested the opinion of the City Council of Municipality of Dolores Hidalgo Cuna de la Independencia Nacional which, taking into account the discontent and demands of the population to prevent this type of companies from settling in our territory, responded negatively through Official Letter No. 0280/PMDH/PA/2019.

The demonstration and social pressure paid off, it was worth it to go out to the streets, to inform people house by house, and to gather signatures to the complaint document. A battle was won. However the threat persists because, although the exploitation permit was denied, Argonaut Gold still holds 13 mining concessions and 8 well concessions for the extraction of water from the aquifer, already devastated by the overexploitation and mismanagement of groundwater in our territory of the Cuenca de la Independencia.

During the first months of the pandemic, SEMARNAT kept its windows closed, preventing the application for permits for new projects, but only for a short time. In November 2020, while we, the people, remained under lockdown, the fears became a reality. Argonaut Gold once again submitted its new Environmental Impact Assessment (MIA) project to SEMARNAT, to request a new mining permit which is currently in the process of approval with project number 11GU2020M0117 .

According to information published by SEMARNAT and available at https://www.semarnat.gob.mx/gobmx/transparencia/constramite.html, the petition was submitted on November 12, 2020 and the last movement of the process was on September 14, 2021, where the status is: The conclusion response document sent to the ECC (Citizen Contact Space).

In July 2021, the state governor Diego Sinue Rodriguez Vallejo, welcomed and received with pleasure the directors of the company Argonaut Gold, who shared the upcoming projects they have in Guanajuato, as published in their social networks. In September, the delegate of the Secretary of Education of Guanajuato and representatives of Argonaut Gold distributed school supplies to children from San Anton de las Minas and surrounding communities.

Today those of us who live in the Cuenca de la Independencia continue to fight as the Social Movement Against Open Pit Mining and Water Extractivism in the Cuenca de la Independencia. We are people and organizations that love and care for life, in the countryside and in the city, that fight to preserve life for current and future generations, that have a territory that gives us identity--the Cuenca de la Independencia, made up of 7 municipalities: San Felipe, San Diego de la Union, San Luis de la Paz, Dolores Hidalgo, San Miguel de Allende, San Jose Iturbide and Doctor Mora.

We already experience and suffer the consequences of the socio-environmental problems that exist in our territory. These are manifested in damage to health and the environment due to the plundering of water by the agro-industrial export industry. If Cerro del Gallo is detonated, it would be the first open-pit mining in the state. It will use 87 thousand liters of water per hour for this process, while releasing highly toxic chemicals such as sodium cyanide and sulfuric acid. It requires a total area of 26,270 hectares to produce 0.7 grams of gold per 1 ton of soil. It will generate a large amount of waste dispersed in water, soil and air. All this would already aggravate the problems of our territory named in 2019 as a Region in Environmental Emergency.

We invite all the people who live in and inhabit the territory of the Cuenca de la Independencia to demonstrate our discontent with these devastating projects of death. The next date is November 21 at the monument of the Heroes at 10am to make a tour through the streets to reach the main garden, in front of the parish of Dolores.

Let's not allow a new conquest, let's go out with our voices raised....

  • No to Open Pit Mining in the Independencia Basin
  • We declare the territory of the Cuenca de la Independencia free of Open Pit Mining.
  • #VidasiMinaNo #Somosmuchosanddefendemostodos

References

https://www.facebook.com/DiegoSinhueMX/photos/a.2138106209632816/3859712297472190/?type=3&eid=ARBsd5w7HECB2UorVUriTSWvfH9xNK5WbXZ2nzeeGa_NRmxU8IvJvpCiW9-MdSyLllLrncRwZjkKtgm5

https://masdeaca.com/seg-y-argonaut-gold-regalan-utiles-escolares-a-ninos-de-san-anton-de-las-minas-y-comunidades-aledanas/

https://www.gob.mx/semarnat/prensa/trabajara-semarnat-con-afectados-de-seis-regiones-del-pais-con-altos-impactos-ambientales-y-de-salud

 

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