In the community of Las Margaritas, municipality of Catorce, Virikuta, the mining company “Golondrina” – a subsidiary of the Canadian mining company “West Timmins Mining” based in Hermosillo, Sonora – is planning an open-pit gold mining project in the area called Kauyumaritsie.
The veins of gold that the mining company aims to expoit are located within two mining parcels: “La Lira” and “El Bernalejo”, with an area of 77 and 37 hectares respectively. Both parcels are in peyote harvesting areas, particularly near to Ta tei kie, San Andres.
Since time immemorial, the People Wixarika -from the States of Jalisco, Nayarit and Durango- come on pilgrimage to the sacred place of Virikuta, recreating the long route traveled by their ancestors during the formation of the world to the birthplace of the Sun in the desert of Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi. There they pray for the maintenance of their ancient culture and all life on the planet.
Several legal agreements, such as the Mining Law and the Free Trade Agreement with North America, have resulted today in 6,326 hectares of the sacred place of the Wixarika People distributed in 22 mining concessions granted to the Canadian transnational “First Majestic Silver”.
Large amounts of water used by the mining industry would result in the draining of watersheds that, according to reports from the National Water Commission, are already overexploited and have little resilience. In addition, the sacred springs where the Wixarika People collect their blessed water are at risk of being contaminated with cyanide.
Therefore, the traditional authorities that form the Regional Wixarika Council for the Defense of Virikuta and the organizations of the Front in Defense of Virikuta “Tamatsima Wahaa” require the cancellation of the mining concessions and to set an indefinite moratorium on new licenses for exploitation and exploration in the desert of Real de Catorce.
In a letter to Mexican President Felipe Calderon, the Regional Wixarika Council for the Defense of Virikuta expressed its concern about the performance of the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples (CDI), which ignores the traditional authorities of the communities that form the Front and the Council and recognizes its financially dependent organizations as unique interlocutors for the Virikuta protection against mining activities.
“The CDI”, says the Council, “have been manipulating the social scene and planted an artificial division between communities. However, with regard to the issue of mining, all the Wixarika people share the goals of comprehensive defense of Virikuta; we will use all the necessary resources to stop this devastating mining project availing ourselves of national and international legal resources as well as taking all the required actions of peaceful civil resistance.”
“The problem of mining is exacerbated when the owners are indigenous communities; this is due to their special relationship with the earth and nature in general, so unique that often their survival depends on it” Francisco López Bárcenas and Mayra Monserrat Eslava, 2001
Traducción Francisco de Tavira and Tracy Barnett
October 8, 2011
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