From the letter
Ing. Juan José Guerra Abud
Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales
The 34 undersigned human rights, environmental and civil society groups in Mexico and around the world, urge you, and all the government institutions responsible for handing out authorizations to the Los Cardones mine, to cancel any existing permits and deny any new ones.
The mine, which would be constructed in the Sierra la Laguna Mountains in Baja California Sur, Mexico, has been previously rejected three times by a wide spectrum of society, including politicians and authorities, and for good reasons.
As with any industrial scale open pit mine, the proposed Los Cardones mine will consume huge quantities of water. And this in a rapidly growing state with a limited water supply, and with climate change potentially reducing that supply even more.
In every phase of operation, from digging up ore to using chemicals to extract minerals from the ore, mines generate massive amounts of toxic waste that too often end up flowing into waterways. This past August, in the northern state of Sonora, an infrastructure failure at a copper mine caused 10 million gallons of copper sulfate acid waste to spill into the Bacanuchi and Sonora rivers. The toxins in this pollution turned the water orange, led to deaths of fish and livestock and cut off water supply to some 20,000 people.
The dangers of industrial scale mining are present for surrounding communities and the environment. These dangers are all the more acute when they threaten the limited water supply of an arid state.
The fact that the proposal is partly located within a UNESCOdesignated biosphere reserve is additional justification for SEMARNAT to deny any permit for this mine. Animals such as the yucca night lizard, capepygmy owl and the ornate shrew make their home in these mountains.