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“No a la minería” in Zacualpán, Colima, Mexico

The local population resist against mining by a Canadian company. The contamination of water sources, along with dust and soil pollution, would have consequences on people’s health. The community voted against mining.


Zacualpan, a Nahual community within the municipality of Comala, Colima, Mexico, was known because its landscapes inspired Juan Rulfo to write his novel “Pedro Páramo”. At the present it is also known because of the mining conflict that takes place in its territory between GABFER S.A de C.V., a private Mexican company linked to Canadian corporations and people of  Zacualpan.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:“No a la minería” in Zacualpán, Colima, Mexico
State or province:Colima
Location of conflict:Comala / Zacualpán
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:Silver
Project Details and Actors
Project details

There are two mining concessions within the communal territory, La Tigrilla and Heliotropo. The latter has estimated reserves of about 1.106.540 tons and an area of 100 hectares. Besides these, there are 360 additional concessions granted by the Secretaría de Economía in Colima. This number of concessions turns Colima into the Mexican state with the largest percentage of its territory granted to mining companies (44%).

Project area:100
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:> 300,000 inhabitants.
Start of the conflict:01/12/2013
Company names or state enterprises:GABFER S.A de C.V. from Canada
Consorcio Minero Benito Juárez
Peña Colorada
Ternium - Las Encinas from Italy
Relevant government actors:Secretaría de Economía de Colima, Procuraduría Agraria, delegación Colima; Cámara de Diputados del Estado de Colima, Tribunal Unitario Agrario
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Red Mexicana de Afectados por la Minería (REMA),
Bios Iguana AC,
Mining Watch Canada,
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Mine tailing spills, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition, Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsImpacts on water quality
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Due to the increase in violence, in March 2015 an on-site evaluation was carried out by the “Misión Civil Nacional e Internacional al Caso Zacualpan”. The Mission confirmed the existence of two mining concessions and corroborated the threats received by Bios Iguana AC team, an organisation that supports the community’s struggle.
Based on the evaluation results, the community requested precautionary measures in favor of Esperanza Salazar Zenil, general coordinator of Bios Iguana AC, as well as the entire team of this environmental organization. Community also asked to stop the persecution and defamation campaign against its leaders. Above all, Zacualpan indigenous community demands respect for their right to territorial self-determination.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros en América Latina (OCMAL)
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Videos sobre el conflicto minero recopilados por Mining Watch Canada
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Desinformémonos, periodismo de abajo
[click to view]

Movimiento Mesoamericano contra el Modelo extractivo
[click to view]

Mexico: Indigenous community in Colima opposes mining project, despite threats.
[click to view]

Conflicto Minero: Proyecto minero en Zacualpán: saqueo y contaminación de agua
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Martha Moncada, [email protected]
Last update22/04/2018
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