Grupo Mexico’s mine in Spain under scrutiny… again

One year after the reopening of its zinc, copper, and lead Aznalcóllar mine near the Spaniard city of Sevilla, Grupo Mexico’s project is being scrutinized once again.

Sevilla’s Provincial Court decided to revisit the investigation behind the mining rights awarded to GMexico’s subsidiary México-Minorbis. Last year, accusations about shady pre-arranged agreements to obtain such concession, dismissing a mandatory public tender, led to a legal procedure where the company came out victorious. The case was, then, archived.

But Toronto-listed Emerita Resources, who presented the initial accusations, filed an appeal against the dismissal of the case. This appeal was upheld by the Seventh Section of the Court this week, given that the initial ruling recognized administrative irregularities behind the granting of Aznalcóllar mining rights.

The mine’s history has been plagued with controversy. Eighteen years ago, the place was shut down when a tailings dam burst, dumping five million cubic metres of toxic sludge into the nearby Guadiamar river.

Operations resumed in 2015. Grupo México guaranteed its activities would comply with the highest environmental standards and would not affect protected areas close to the mine, but conservationists are not convinced. They remember how the company was responsible not only for a major spill in Sonora, Mexico, but also for lying about the causes of the accident.