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Alamos gold mining company in the “Sonora cluster”, Mexico


Although the mine El Chanate (in Altar) and the mine Mulatos (in Sahuaripa) are distant from each other (some 400 kms), one at the border with the US in northern Sonora, the other also in Sonora, east of Hermosillo, both are gold mines, and both belong to the Canadian company Los Alamos, and both are controversial because of major disasters in recent years.

El Chanate saw a cyanid spill in 2016 (1) (5) while Mulatos saw a landslide dam in 2018 with some deaths (2)(4). That there could be a lanslide has been announced by neighbours since 2014, and there was a complaint to the National Commision for Human Rights (10). The company reacted in 2014: "Alamos Gold defended its environmental and community record at its Mulatos gold mine in Mexico following allegations of human rights violations. Mexico's human rights commission announced an investigation after residents said daily use of explosives at the Sonora state mine poses a risk to life, health and physical integrity in the Mulatos community, in Sahuaripa municipality. Blasting has damaged buildings including a church and school, while toxic residues from the mine have polluted local streams and rivers, residents said."

This company is also active in Turkey (Ida Mountain) and in Canada (Young Davidson, Kirkland Lake, Ontario).

As reported by Dulce Oilvera, there are many Canadian mining companies involved in serious environmental conflicts in Mexico, sometimes involving extreme violence against environmental defenders (as in Chicomuselo, Chiapas). (7). One of such notorious companies is Alamos Gold company in Sonora. 

In 2018 there are complaints against Alamo Gold also in Micatlan, Morelos (8), because of new plans for mining.

In Sonora on 11 March 2016 the Governor announced the following investments by mining companies in the "Sonora cluster" (which includes such notorious environmental offenders as Grupo Mexico in Cananea, and also Alamo Gold). (9).

Inversión de 5 mil 688 millones de pesos 1. Fresnillo Plc, Minera Penmont Minas La Herradura y Noche Buena, municipio de Caborca, 460 mdp (oro). 2. Grupo México, Buena Vista del Cobre, Mina Cananea, municipio de Cananea, 681 mdp (cobre). 3. Álamos Gold, Minas de Oro Nacional, Mina Mulatos en Sahuaripa, Minera Santa Rita, Mina el Chanate en Altar, mil 359 mdp (oro). 4. Molymex, planta de proceso de molibdeno en Cumpas, 70 mdp. 5. Minera Autlán, Minera Columbia, Mina Lluvia de Oro en Magdalena, mil 050 mdp (oro). 6. Industria Peñoles, Minera la Parreña, Mina Milpillas, Cananea, 272 mdp (cobre) 7. First Majestic, Nusantara de México, Mina Santa Elena en Banámichi, 278 mdp (oro). 8. Timmins Gold, Molimentales de Sonora, Mina San Francisco en Santa Ana, 47 mdp (oro). 9. Yamana Gold Minera Meridian Minerales, Mina Mercedes en Cucurpe, 444 mdp (oro). 10. Agnico Eagle, Glayd de México, Mina La India en Sahuaripa, 222 mdp (oro). 11. Argonaut Gold, Minera Pitalla, Mina La Colorada en el municipio La Colorada, 245 mdp (oro). 12. Go Gold Resources, Coanzamex, Proyecto minero en construcción Santa Gertrudis primera etapa en Cucurpe, 560 mdp (oro).

Basic Data

Name of conflict: Alamos gold mining company in the “Sonora cluster”, Mexico
State or province:Sonora
Location of conflict:Altar and Sahuaripa
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Gold

Project Details and Actors

Project details

According to the company website (3).

Mina Mulatos Propietaria al 100%

Sonora (México) en la Sierra Madre Occidental. (Sahuaripa).

Mina de oro a cielo abierto con proceso de lixiviación.

Producción 2015: 140,330 onzas de oro

Expectativa para 2016: entre 140,000 y 150,000 onzas

de oro a un costo total (AISC) de $925 la onza.

Notas La exploración continúa en los yacimientos

satélite La Yaqui, Cerro Pelón y Carbonera.

Mina El Chanate Propietaria al 100% (adquirida en 2015)

Al noroeste de Sonora (México), a 280 km al noroeste de

Hermosillo (170 km al sudoeste de Tucson (Arizona).

Mina de oro a cielo abierto con proceso de lixiviación.

Producción 2015: 79,312 onzas de oro

Expectativa para 2016: entre 60,000 y 70,000 onzas

de oro a un costo total (AISC) de $1,100 la onza.

Notas Productor estable y confiable.

Mina Young-Davidson Propietaria al 100% (adquirida in 2015).

In 2015 it was annouced that Alamos Gold and AuRico has fusioned (6).

Alamos Gold by 2018 is hoping to produce 500,000 ounces of gold per year from its mines in Canada, Mexico, Turkey.

Level of Investment:800,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:2,000
Start of the conflict:2014
Company names or state enterprises:Los Alamos from Canada
AuRico from Canada
Relevant government actors:Gvernor of Sonora
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:CNDH, Comision Nacional de Derechos Humanos

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Mine tailing spills, Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Other Environmental impactsCyanide spill. Landslide.
Health ImpactsVisible: Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other Health impacts
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Violations of human rights, Displacement, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of livelihood
Other socio-economic impactsNational Commission of Human Rights was asked to intervene in Mulatos mine, threat of landslide in 2014(10) which actually took placea few years later.


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:The company continues operations, despite accidents, and allegations of failure to pay due royalties.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Both gold mines, Mulatos and El Chanate (in Sonora) belonging to the Alamos company (from Canada) are in operation. The company has economic (royalties) and social liabilities and also environmental liabilities. In Morelos (Micatlan) the company is facing strong opposition in 2018.(8). In November 2018 Alamos Gold announced that it was stopping extraction of mineral in El Chanate. only the heap leaching dumps would continue working.

Sources & Materials

(1) Negligencia minera (26 abril 2016) originó derrame de cianuro en Sonora (Servindi, 5 mayo 2016). 400 metros cúbicos amenaza población de Altar.

(4) La Jornada. Cristina Gómez Lima. 15 de diciembre de 2018,. El deslave de una roca en la mina de oro Mulatos, ubicada en el municipio de Sahuaripa, dejó seis trabajadores atrapados la tarde del jueves: cuatro fueron rescatados, pero dos continúan desaparecidos, informó ayer la empresa Minas de Oro Nacional SA de CV, filial de la trasnacional Álamos Gold Inc.

(2) El Universal. Amalia Escobar. Continúa busqueda de mineros sepultados por derrumbe de mina Mulatos, Sonora, del consorcio minero Alamos Gold, el 13 dic. 2018

(5) La Jornada. Derrama minera 400,00 litros de cianuro. 3 mayo 2016

(3) Description of the properties of Los Alamos Gold in Mexico, Turrkey, Canada, already in production (Mexico and Canada) or under development.

(6) Alamos Gold and Aurico Gold fusioned. 2015.

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

(10) Proceso, CNDH investiga en Sonora a minera Alamos por daños ambientales, 26 Nov. 2014

(8) Activan protesta contra Alamos Gold. Micatlán Morelos. 22 julio 2018.

Minería de oro a cielo abierto, una voladura en Mina Mulatos, Sonora (video)

(7) Dulce Olivera. Las mineras de Canadá han pisoteado a México. Sin Embargo, 30 enero 2017.

(9) Nuevas inversiones mineras en Sonora 2016, Gobernadora Pavlovich 11 marzo 2016 (incluyendo Alamos Gold)

Meta information

Last update18/08/2019



Source: Proceso, 26 Nov. 2014