“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“No a la minería” in Zacualpán, Colima, Mexico
SiteComala / 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 CommoditiesSilver
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThere 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 (in hectares)100
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population> 300,000 inhabitants.
Start Date01/12/2013
Company Names or State EnterprisesGABFER S.A de C.V. from Canada
Consorcio Minero Benito Juárez
Peña Colorada
Ternium - Las Encinas from Italy
Relevant government actorsSecretaría de Economía de Colima, Procuraduría Agraria, delegación Colima; Cámara de Diputados del Estado de Colima, Tribunal Unitario Agrario
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersRed Mexicana de Afectados por la Minería (REMA), http://www.remamx.org

Bios Iguana AC, http://biosiguana.org

Mining Watch Canada, https://miningwatch.ca
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
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement 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
OtherImpacts on water quality
Socio-economic 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)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials

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


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


Movimiento Mesoamericano contra el Modelo extractivo
[click to view]

Desinformémonos, periodismo de abajo
[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]

Other Documents

Por la dignidad del territorio Tomada de: http://movimientom4.org/2016/05/la-resistencia-de-zacualpan-serie-de-videos-sobre-la-defensa-del-territorio-en-mexico/
[click to view]

El pueblo no dio permiso a la mina Tomado de: http://espejosresistencia.blogspot.com.es/search?q=zacualpan
[click to view]

Manifestación contra la minería en Zacualpan Tomado de http://radiolevy.com/comuneros-de-zacualpan-exigen-renuncia-de-mario-y-chapula/
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorMartha Moncada, [email protected]
Last update22/04/2018