On 15 February, representatives of metallurgical workers in Canada and the U.S. demanded that the Mexican and Oaxacan state governments establish laws to sanction and prevent abuses on the part of mining firms. They made these calls at the end of a visit to the state, principally to the Capulálpam de Méndez and San José del Progreso municipalities, which are two communities that have been affected by mining projects. In both spaces they could confirm that mineral exploration and exploitation have been prosecuted without respect for the free self-determination and autonomy of local communities, and without any sort of study of environmental impacts that could result from these projects. They affirmed that the introduction of mining has provoked a destruction of the social fabric as well as situations of violence against opponents to mining.“Federal and state authorities have acted irresponsibly in providing 344 concessions for mineral exploitation in Oaxaca between 2002 and 2011,” noted Laura Ramírez, representative of the United Steelworkers organization.
Marcos Leyva Madrid, general coordinator of Services for an Alternative Education (EDUCA), detailed that between January 2002 and June 2011, the SE handed over 344 mining concessions in Oaxaca for the exploitation of gold, silver, lead, zinc, and copper over 742,791 hectares, an area equivalent to 7.78% of the state territory. He noted that the 344 concessions, distributed over the eight regions of the state, pertain principally to 13 Canadian firms and two U.S. ones. Some concessions will retain their validity until 2023, 2039, 2059, 2060, or 2062.
For more information (in Spanish):
Irresponsable actuación oficial en concesiones mineras: Steelworkers (La Jornada, 19 de febrero de 2013)
Dio Economía 344 concesiones mineras en Oaxaca, en 9 años (La Jornada, 16 de febrero de 2013)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Oaxaca: Close of meeting “Yes to Life, No to Mining” with declaration (24 January 2013)
Oaxaca: Forum “Yes to Life, No to Mining” from 17 to 20 January (15 January 2013)