MICLA

McGill Research Group Investigating
Canadian Mining in Latin America

Los Filos, Mexico

Key Data

Company:GoldCorp Operational status:production Materials extracted:silver, gold Type of mine:open pit, underground Main issues:water, public health, land rights

Description

Los Filos mine in Guerrero, Mexico, is comprised of two open pit mines, Los Filos and El Bermejal. The property is located in the town of Mezcala, but the impact of the mining activities affect three towns: Mezcala, Carrizalillo, and Xochipala. Los Filos mine is owned by Canadian corporation Goldcorp, and the Mexican subsidiary company, Luismin.

Los Filos mine has been a source of conflict within all three communities since 2007. Residents of the towns oppose the mine in part because they claim that they were never consulted before signing over rights to their land, and that they had only agreed to exploration of the area, not explotation [1]. Workers and residents are also unsatisfied with the compensation they are receiving from Goldcorp and Luismin; they demand a higher annual rent for their lands and more compensation for environmental damages. Other main concerns of the community members are the environmental impacts, water contamination, and general health risks.

More specifically, the National Forest Commission stated on July 22, 2007 that Los Filos mine has caused damage to 72,000 square meters of community land and 1,038 trees in Xochipala.  They call for Luismin to pay the community at least 3,225,000 Pesos to cover damages [2]. Additionally, community members fear the lasting effects that the open-pit mines will have on their land. Open-pit mines leave gaping craters where the land is exploded, and renders the land unusable, even after mining activity is over.

Water quality is also a pressing issue for members of the three towns. Many fear that the water is contaminated by cyanide, which will cause grave health problems for community members in the surrounding areas [3].

Frustration over the lack of adequate compensation for mining activities has led to protests and strikes. On January 8th, 2007,  workers went on strike and blocked the entrance to the mine [4]. Luismin and the community of Carrizalillo finally reached an agreement on April 1st of that year, which stated that Luismin would pay an annual fee of 13,500 Pesos for each hectare to the community, rehire the 60 employees fired during the protest, pay an additional 250,000 Pesos to compensate for grievances due to the conflict, and construct a number of community social services, such as health centers, universities, and basketball courts [5]. The towns of Mezcala and Xochipala made similar demands of Luismin, and on April 8th, 2007, Xochipala recieved the same yearly compensation [6].

There has been no significant conflict activity surrounding Los Filos mine since early January, 2008 when workers blocked the entrance to the mine for two days [7].

Bibliography

[1] http://www.olca.cl/oca/mexico/mineras011.htm

[2] http://www.lajornadaguerrero.com.mx/2007/07/23/index.php?section=sociedad&article=004n1soc

[3] http://www.lajornadaguerrero.com.mx/2007/04/14/index.php?section=sociedad&article=006n1soc

[4] http://www.lajornadaguerrero.com.mx/2007/04/02/index.php?section=sociedad&article=006n1soc

[5] http://www.lajornadaguerrero.com.mx/2007/04/02/index.php?section=sociedad&article=006n1soc

[6] http://www.rightsaction.org/Reports/research.pdf

[7] http://www.lajornadaguerrero.com.mx/2008/01/17/index.php?section=sociedad&article=006n1soc



Timeline of Key Events

2015
2012
2008
2007
2007
2007
2007
2007
2007
2007
2007
2007
2007
2007
2007
2007
2005