Defence of Magdalena Teititipac against gold mining , Mexico


In February 2013, among shouts of Viva Zapata!, hundreds of citizens, men and women of this Zapotec comunity decided in General Assembly to oust Compañia Minera Plata Real, Real Silver Mining Company, a subsidiary of Canadian Corporation Linear Gold of Canada or perhaps of Sunshine Silver of Denver, Colorado (USA).The move to peacefully evict the company came after a community assembly during which the majority of community members voted against the mining project and any kind of exploration in their territories. Magdalena Teitipac is a Zapotec community governed according to customary practices.

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Basic Data
NameDefence of Magdalena Teititipac against gold mining , Mexico
SiteMagdalena Teitipac
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
Specific Commodities
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsAccording to a report by the Ministry of Economy, the Directorate General of Mining Regulation granted the September 6, 2007 the grant entitled The Doctor to the company Silver Royal. The concession includes the exploration and exploitation of gold and silver in an area of †‹†‹9653 hectares of lands of Magdalena Teitipac, until September 5, 2057.

Project Area (in hectares)9 653
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population 4 368
Start Date2013
Company Names or State EnterprisesLinear Gold from Canada
Sunshine Silver Mines
Relevant government actorsMain government actors: México's government/ Secretaría de medio ambiente y recursos naturales (SEMARNAT)/ SecretariÌa de EconomiÌa (SE)/ Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente (PROFEPA). Secondary actors: Servicio GeoloÌgico Mexi
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersComité para la Defensa de la Cultura e Integridad Territorial de Magdalena Teitipac (Oaxaca)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
The community issued an ultimatum to the company to go away
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The community organization won against a transnational mining company. The project has been suspended, but that doesnt necessarily means that it was canceled. Even so, it is stopped!

Sources and Materials

Ley General del Equilibrio Ecológico y Protección al Ambiente, LEGEPA, 2005 /Ley inversión extranjera, 2001/ Ley Minera, 2006 / Reglamento de la Ley de Inversión Extranjera, 1998 / The North American Free Trade Agreement, TLC, 1994/ Article 27 of Mexican Constitution/ Art. 169 OIT Agreement.


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Meta Information
ContributorResearch Group of Mining Landscapes in Mexico, Center for Research in Environmental Geography, National Autonomous University of Mexico, UNAM, Morelia´s campus.& Joan Martinez Alier
Last update08/04/2014