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Communities of the Oaxaca Valley Seek Protection Against Mining Concessions

– Communities of the Oaxaca Valley have obtained a provisional suspension of mining concessions in their territories.

– The communities of Oaxaca Valley demand that the First District Court thoroughly review the mining concessions granted without their consent.

As a result of contempt by the federal government and systematic violations of territorial rights by the Cuzcatlán mining company (a subsidiary of Canadian Fortuna Silver Mines), 11 communities in the Oaxaca Valley have decided (through their community assemblies) to appeal to the Mexican justice system to demand the guarantee and respect of their territorial rights.

Since 2011, through their community assemblies, the communities of Oaxaca Valley have determined that they will not allow the expansion of the “San José” mining project, and have repeatedly appealed to the state and federal government to communicate their decision. However, instead of recognizing, respecting and guaranteeing their rights, both levels of government tried to promote mining in their territories, violating their right to self-determination. Under the mandate of María Luisa Albores, in charge of the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and José Carlos Fuentes, in charge of the Secretariat of the Interior (SEGOB-Oaxaca), the most serious situation occurred. In the midst of a process of dialogue with the communities, the government granted 10 years of commercial exploitation in favor of the mining company, and furthermore, promoted meetings with mining company executives to negotiate.

The signatory communities of Oaxaca Valley have been forceful for 15 years, and their decisions are expressed in their declarations of territory prohibited for mining. Faced with the negligence and omission of the federal government, on December 5, 2023, they resorted to the justice system through an injunction to request the cancellation of the nonconsensual mining concessions granted in their territories.

In turn, Judge Emmanuel Hernández Alva, head of the First District Court in the state of Oaxaca, determined a provisional suspension for mining concessions in the 11 communities that signed the injunction: “so that the responsible authorities refrain from totally or partially, temporarily or definitively depriving the communities of the ownership and possession of the agrarian lands, that is, to the effect that things remain in the current state and that they are not deprived or dispossessed of their territory.”

In this context, by judicial order, since the mining concessions granted by the federal government are under review by the Mexican justice system, Compañía Minera Cuzcatlán, and federal and Oaxaca state authorities cannot enter their territories to promote any mining project.

The Front No to Mining for a Future of All communicates the following:

  • The indigenous territories of Oaxaca Valley are on high alert against any extractive project, and our defense has been at all times legal, peaceful and legitimate.
  • We demand that the First District Court of the state of Oaxaca guarantee our territorial rights, as Minera Cuzcatlán and the federal government have violated them since the imposition of the “San José” mining project, as well as the granting of mining concessions and environmental permits without our consent.
  • To the federal and state governments: Respect and abide by the suspension and establish measures for the definitive closure of the mining project and the operation of the mining company in the Oaxaca Valley.
  • Cuzcatlán Mining Company: the imposition of the San José mining project and the intention to expand it have systematically violated our territorial rights. Our decision is forceful: Here we say Yes to Life, No to Mining.

We are grateful for the collaboration and permanent support of Servicios para una Educación Alternativa EDUCA A.C., the Clínica Jurídica para la Justicia Ambiental Berta Cáceres of the Universidad Iberoamericana of Mexico City, and the organization Litigio Estratégico Indígena A.C., for the technical support received in the preparation of these appeals and for respecting the voice of the signatory communities.

We demand a thorough review of the mining concessions granted by the federal government without our consent!

Here We Say Yes to Life, No to Mining

Front No to Mining for a Future of All

Agrarian and municipal authorities from: Magdalena Ocotlán, Monte del Toro, San Matías Chilazoa, Los Ocotes, El Vergel, Cerro de las Huertas, San Juan Coatecas Altas, San Dionisio Ocotepec, San Martín de los Cansecos, San Nicolás Yaxe, El Llano Sitio Santiago

Watch the video of the press conference here (18 min.)

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