RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NATIONAL MINING RESERVE WILL NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF MINING AND AGROINDUSTRIAL CONCESSIONS IN WIRIKUTA
The Wirikuta Defense Front – Tamatsima Wahaa, given the recent announcements that the Federal Government has released as measures for the protection Wirikuta, declare the following:
The measures imposed by the federal government since May this year, are totally inadequate and could even become counterproductive.
The Federal Government’s actions are strategic media events to ensure the functioning of the destructive agribusiness and mining projects in the area so as to make it appear that the mining threats in Wirikuta have been taken care of, which is far from the reality.
The federal government announcements do not constitute a serious and responsible action in fulfilling the obligations of the Mexican State to ensure the effective protection of natural and cultural heritage of the Wixárika People and of Humanity.
The 79 mining concessions that existed before are still valid, occupying the same 98.000 hectares, which constitute 70% of the Protected Natural Area (PNA) Wirikuta.
We base our statements on the following analysis.
On May 24 at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, the federal government (with the presence of four Secretaries of federal agencies), announced without consultation or prior notice to the People Wixárika that on 45,000 hectares. the area of Wirikuta (Natural Protected Area by the state of San Luis Potosi) was decreed a National Mining Reserve in order to establish that new mining concessions can no longer be issued. It should be noted that there is still no formal decree: therefore, the true scope of this announcement is largely unknown.
However, these 45.000 hectares do not touch any of the existing concessions, particularly the projects of Canadian companies First Majestic Silver Corp. (Project Real de Catorce / Luz) and Revolution Resources Corp (Project Universe). These projects are continuing unaffected, as they themselves have announced.
ABOUT THE RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:
On 06 July, the Ministry of Economy announced the cancellation of five mining concessions in the territory known as Wirikuta and the addition of 30,000 hectares more which were added to create a National Mining Reserve. Until now, the government has not provided information on concessions canceled or the reasons for cancellation.
Subsequently, on July 20, the Secretary of the Economy, through the Directorate General of Mines (DGM), published in the Official Journal of the Federation (DOF) a series of mining allotments without harm to others, in favor of the Mexican Geological Service (SGM), a decentralized body of the Secretary of the Economy.
As shown on the attached map, the area referred to by these allocations do not cover the areas announced by federal agencies with dates of last May 24 and July 6 (75,000 total), the area proposed for the National Mining Reserve adds up to 71,148 hectares, and of these only 60,543 hectares are within the Wirikuta Natural Protected Area. The remaining 10,605 hectares are outside its perimeter. To date, the resolutions do indicate any cancellations of mining concessions; on the contrary, seven new mining claims have been made that would be included as part of the National Mining Reserve in the sacred Wirikuta Territory.
On 24 July, the General Directorate of Mines published in the DOF cancellation of the allocations made to the EMS 4 days before, under the waiver submitted by the Mexican Geological Service, and with the objective of proposing that the Federal Government incorporate the titles referred to in the terms established in the National Mining Reserve Decree, without explaining the rationale for these terms and without further reference to it.
The administrative announcements and media do not mean any change to the dangerous situation in which Wirikuta is exposed, much less any reduction in mining and agribusiness threats that prevail and motivate our complaints regarding the Wirikuta sacred territory. To date, the 79 mining concessions that existed before continue in force, occupying the same 98,000 hectares, which constitute 70% of the Wirikuta Protected Natural Area.
But there is something more serious involved in the recent announcements: the only surfaces in Wirikuta that were not concessioned, are now included in a National Mining Reserve that is property of the nation. These lands were set aside in recognition of the current mining law, and not in recognition of the rights we claim. Therefore, these 60,543 hectares now, because they belong to a National Mining Reserve, may be subject to exploration to locate existing minerals, and then given a concession for exploitation. Another administration may at any time withdraw the reservation made, ie, this measure does not really offer any real guarantee of protection of this patrimony of the Wixárika People and of humanity.
The main mining projects that remain in effect with intentions for exploration and exploitation in Wirikuta are the Real de Catorce/Luz Project of First Majestic Silver Corp. and Revoluton Resources/Universe Project, which cover at least 45% of the total area of the Protected Natural Area, and have not been affected by the new provisions of the Federal Government through the Secretary of the Economy or another agency, plus they have failed to be mentioned by the same authorities, as if these projects did not exist.
In relation to these announcements, the Wixárika People, through the Wirikuta Defense Front – Tamatsima Wahaa, headed by the Wixárika Regional Council, states that:
The creation of the NMR does not represent in any way an adequate path and solution for the protection and recognition of the sacred territory of Wirikuta.
It also requires conclusively:
TERMINATION OF ANY AND ALL CONCESSIONS AND / OR MINING ASSIGNMENTS WITHIN THE WIRIKUTA REGION in recognition of the rights that accompany them and that is constitutionally bound to the Mexican State.
Finally, we remind the Federal Government and the Civil Society that in recognition of the rights of the Wixárika People, the courts have granted the suspension of the project of the Canadian company First Majestic Silver Corp., through its Mexican subsidiary Minera Real Bonanza SA de CV, issued officially and clearly, so that the authorities refrain from authorizing any act aimed at the exploitation of the concessions until the issue is resolved in full.