Wirikuta silver and gold mining, Mexico

Silver and gold mining in sacred land belonging to the Wixárica people. Strong, peaceful successful resistance against foreign companies and local government.


Description

In 2011, the federal Government granted Revolution Resources Corp minning concessions to lauch a new "Universe Project" in an area that overlapps by more than 42% with the Wirikuta Natural Reserve (59,678 hectares). This added to another project, the La Luz project, which was approved in 2010 in benefit of First Majestic Silver Corp. This project involved 22 concessions and affected 6,327 hectares, 70% of which also fell within the Reserve. The Reserve also hosts the Wirikuta/Wixárica community and a number of sacred sites and resources used by this community. The project, which contemplates open extraction techniques, will  threaten the community traditional activities as well as water quantity and quality in the area.

See more...
Basic Data
NameWirikuta silver and gold mining, Mexico
CountryMexico
ProvinceSan Luis Potosi
SiteSan Luis Potosí, México, municipios de Catorce, Charcas, Matehuala, Villa de Guadalupe, Villa de la Paz, Villa de Ramos, Bajío
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Water access rights and entitlements
Specific CommoditiesSilver
Gold
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsFirst Majestic Silver obtained 22 mine concessions, including 6,327 hectares in the Wirikuta area.

Revolution Corp obtained 72 mine concessions, encompassing more than 67,000 hectares.
Project Area (in hectares)59,678
Level of Investment (in USD)100,000,000 USD (La Luz project; First Majestic Silver))
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population20,000 Wixárika
Start Date01/01/2010
End Date09/2013
Company Names or State EnterprisesFirst Majestic Silver Corp. (FM) from Canada
Revolution resources Corp./IMD Mining (RR) from Canada - Project concession beneficiary
Relevant government actorsGovernors of San Luis Potosí, Durango, Jalisco, Nayarit and Zacatecas.

Felipe Calderon (Mexican President from 2006 to 2012)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersUnión Wixárica de Centros Ceremoniales (http://ongs.com.mx/job/union-wixarika-de-centros-ceremoniales-de-jalisco-durango-y-nayarit/)

Frente en Defensa de Wirikuta Tamatsima Wahaa

Consejo Regional Wixárika por la Defensa de Wirikuta

Asociación Jalisciense de Apoyo a Grupos

Indígenas

Amnesty International

High Commissioner for Human Rights

Business & Human Rights

UNESCO
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Defense of sacredness of the territory
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (failure for environmental justice)
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.In September 2013, Federal court suspended 40 mine exploitation concessions including those of Universo project. This decision stopped all preparatory mining works in the Wirikuta area (municipalities of Catorce, Charcas, Matehuala, Villa de Ramos, Villa de Guadalupe and Villa de la Paz)., until the concessions are definitively cancelled.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Convention 169 of ILO

San Luis Potosí state, 29 June 2010, LEY DE CONSULTA INDÍGENA. Según esta ley serán objeto obligado de consulta: EL OTORGAMIENTO DE CONCESIONES, CONTRATOS Y DEMAS INSTRUMENTOS JURIDICOS QUE AFECTEN EL USO Y DISFRUTE DE SUS TIERRAS Y RECURSOS NATURALES.

References

Tesis doctoral, “Minería, conservación y derechos indígenas. Territorio y conflicto en Catorce, San Luis Potosí”, Andrew Félix Boni Noguez, del CIGA de la UNAM, reconocido por la Academia Mexicana de Ciencias (AMC) por la mejor tesis de doctorado en Ciencias Sociales 2015. Trabajo dirigido por Claudio Garibay.
[click to view]

Miriam Alï-e Cohen, Conflictos socio-ambientales: la minería en Wirikuta y Cananea
[click to view]

Links

Wirikuta: la historia no contada de un conflicto minero
[click to view]

10 claves para entender el conflicto en Wirikuta
[click to view]

Wirikuta se defiende, Hermann Bellinghausen (La Jornada 27 junio 2016)
[click to view]

Hermann Bellinghausen, "Wirikuta no se vende, se ama y se defiende"
[click to view]

En defensa de Wirikuta, 60 mil cantaron en el Foro Sol, 27/5/2012
[click to view]

Media Links

Salvemos Wirikuta blog
[click to view]

Other Documents

Desde Jalisco, Nayarit, San Luis Potosí, Durango y Zacatecas llegaron a El Quemado, en Real de Catorce, donde dieron a conocer la Declaración de Wirikuta. Foto Arturo Campos Cedillo (La Jornada 8/2/2012).
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorSergio Villamayor-Tomas
Last update13/12/2016
Comments