Mexico’s environmental authority investigates Grupo Mexico’s spill

The city of Guaymas in Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Intersofia, Wikimedia Commons.

Mexico’s Federal Prosecutor for Environmental Protection or Profepa launched an investigation against Grupo Mexico following the failure of a pressure valve of a tank that receives purges from the shipping lines at the Maritime Terminal of Guaymas in the northwestern Sonora state.

The accident, which took place on July 9, 2019, caused the spill of 3,000 litres of sulfuric acid into the waters of the Sea of ​​Cortez. 

Grupo Mexico submitted relevant information to Profepa a day after the spill and from that moment on, the miner has five days to file any additional details. The investigation is ongoing and there is no deadline for its conclusion.

The investigation is ongoing and there is no deadline for its conclusion

In a statement, Grupo Mexico said that it is in constant communication with the environmental authority and that management will continue to do so until all actions to respond to the breach are completed.

As soon as the rupture was discovered, Grupo Mexico’s personnel started transferring the spilled acid into a pipe. The incident, however, wasn’t deemed serious enough by the authorities to activate an emergency plan. 

Yet, this weekend, people bathing in the San Francisco beach in Guaymas found a dead turtle. In a video that went viral on social media and that was shared by local media and by conservative MP Carlos Navarrete, they blamed the toxic discharge for the death of the animal. 

This is not the first spill that Grupo Mexico’s operations have had in Sonora. Back in 2014, the country’s largest mining company spilled 40,000 cubic meters of sulfuric acid on the Sonora and Bacanuchi rivers, following a leak in the facilities of the Buenavista del Cobre mine.

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