Hundreds protest in Veracruz against mining development

Hundreds of environmentalists, as well as members of religious organizations and Indigenous groups hailing from different communities in the Mexican municipality of Actopan, protested this week against mining development in the eastern Veracruz state.

The protesters issued a press release, held a conference at a church and then marched towards the City Hall with signs where they wrote slogans like “Open-pit mines in Actopan and Alto Lucero use poisonous cyanide” or “We are against the privatization of our water.”

In the statement made public on social media by the Veracruzan Assembly of Environmental Initiatives and Defense, those opposing mining activities said that their traditional ways of interacting with the environment should be respected by national, regional and local government officials. “We demand that they respect our human rights and put a halt, cancel or stop issuing mining permits in the region. These mining concessions affect residents’ individual and collective rights.”

Even though the document does not mention any specific project, local media report that the activists were expressing concerns about the use of cyanide at La Paila mine, part of the Candelaria Mining’s Caballo Blanco gold project.

Caballo Blanco is planned as a heap-leach, open-pit mining operation targeting approximately 100,000 ounces of gold production annually. At the moment, the Canadian miner is just waiting for the Mexican Environmental Authority to review an updated version of their Environmental Impact Assessment. asked Candelaria to comment on the protests but did not receive a response by publication time. However, in a video produced by local news site Primer Párrafo, the firm’s COO Armando Alexandri said that they are trying to engage with the local population by creating a mining forum where experts from both sides can present their cases and find common-ground solutions.

The protesters said that the company is acting unilaterally and plans to start works at the mine in July 2018. They also said they will not allow that to happen.