- Title: Mining firms in Mexico must face 'strict' scrutiny, says senior official
- Date: 17th September 2021
- Summary: MEXICO CITY, MEXICO (SEPTEMBER 14, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF REUTERS INTERVIEW WITH DEPUTY ENVIRONMENT MINISTER TONATIUH HERRERA (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) DEPUTY ENVIRONMENT MINISTER, TONATIUH HERRERA, SAYING: "What SEMARNAT (environment and natural resources body) and the Mexican government is proposing; firstly, that we have a strict environmental evaluation in place, as should have been done when the law was set up. We have a regulatory framework that tells us how to do things, and what we have to do is fulfil that (criteria)." HERRERA DURING INTERVIEW (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) DEPUTY ENVIRONMENT MINISTER, TONATIUH HERRERA, SAYING: "We have to evaluate (mining projects). Obviously open pit mining is a concern of the President (Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador) and also of the (Environment) Ministry. It has a huge (environmental) impact. How could you give environmental authorisation for a high-impact project of this scale? We cannot say one takes priority because each project has to be evaluated in accordance to the law. What is required of us is independence in the way projects are evaluated, but of course open pit mines have a very big impact."
- Embargoed: 1st October 2021 14:26
- Keywords: Mexico environment mining
- Location: MAZAPIL, ZACATECAS + MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
- City: MAZAPIL, ZACATECAS + MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: South America / Central America,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA002EV3YC07
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Mining companies in Mexico should expect tough environmental reviews given their projects' major impacts, a senior official told Reuters, insisting that a backlog of evaluations is easing despite industry claims that the opposite is true.
A top-ten global producer of over a dozen minerals, Mexico's multi-billion-dollar mining sector makes up around 8% of Latin America's second-biggest economy, but miners are concerned they are facing increased hostility from Mexico's leftist government.
Tonatiuh Herrera, deputy environment minister who oversees regulatory compliance, said in an interview that pandemic-related closures last year did contribute to a backlog of environmental evaluations for mines but the ministry never stopped processing permits.
Mining company executives have argued that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has undercut mining with record regulatory delays caused largely by steep budget cuts at the ministry, and warned companies may shift new investments to more inviting countries.
Herrera said open pit mines will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis due to their impact on local communities and especially water resources.
But they have not been banned, he added, appearing to walk back comments made earlier this year by his boss, Environment Minister Maria Luisa Albores.
In May, Albores said open pit mining had been prohibited on orders from Lopez Obrador, a resource nationalist, who has criticised some foreign miners of seeking to avoid paying taxes.
Open pit mines, in which ore-rich soil from sprawling surface deposits is scooped up by giant trucks, account for about one-third of Mexico's most-productive mines.
18 major mining projects representing investment of nearly $2.8 billion are stalled due to unresolved ministry permitting, including eight MIAs and 10 separate land-use authorisations, data from mining chamber Camimex show.
(Production: Josue Gonzalez, Rodolfo Pena Roja, Paul Vieira)
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