MAC/20: Mines and Communities

MEXICO

Published by MAC on 2007-07-15

MEXICO

Conafor's evaluation: the damage caused by Luismin in Xochipala is more than 3 million pesos

By MARLEN CASTRO

http://www.lajornadaguerrero.com.mx

The corporation deposited two million in May to demonstrate willingness. Study shows that 1038 trees have been knocked down and 72,000 square meters affected.

CHILPANCINGO, 22 July 2007. The total amount of damages caused by Luismin to small landowners and communally owned land in Xochipala, through the creation of an opening to connect the population with Carrizalillo and with their mining project, has risen to 3,225,000 pesos, according to a study supervised by the National Forestry Commission (Conafor).

Samuel Carrera Cuenca, leader of the Xochipala Defence Movement, noted that this Monday, Conafor will submit the results of the assessment so that the corporation pays the difference, since in May - as was expected - the company deposited two million pesos as a demonstration of its willingness to repay the affected families.

According to the Xochipala Defence Movement, Luismin has felled more than 1,038 trees, three among them from endemic species and others from protected species, as well has having destroyed 12 kilometers of fencing and causing damage to 72,000 square meters belonging to small land owners. Carrera Cuenca commented that the general manager of the Los Filos project, Tomás Iturriaga, assured him that there is a willingness to pay for the total amount of damages and that the company is awaiting the final report of Conafor. He intimated that affected residents receive the remainder of payment for the damages durign the same week.

Ecological Blow

The ecological damaged caused by Luismin during geological exploration to determine the viability of a mine adds up to 72,000 square meters of communally held land in Xochipala, along with 1038 trees, explained Samuel Carrera Cuenca, municipal commissioner.

In a press conference in the local library of Congress, members of the Xochipala defense movement indicated that, while talks between communal land holders have advanced to the point where they are negotiating with the company, there are six members of the commission who are blocking consensus in the signing of a new agreement regarding the occupation of 450 hectares.

In Xochipala, as in Mezcala and Carrizalillo, which are three of the municipalities included in Luismin's gold mining lease, the communities are divided into two groups which are struggling for control over the money that the company will pay for the occupation of lands. In the case of Xochipala, the 142 people listed in the census form one group' the other group consisting of nearly 8,000 inhabitants. The latter group is unaware of the agreement that the company signed with the former, and which resulted in the withdrawal of Luismin, but hasy stated that it hopes that all local people could come to an agreement.

Samuel Carrera Cuenca and Elisur Bautista Robles have criticised their neighbours Salatiel Jiménez, Rodolfo Sandoval, Rodolfo Peña, Isidro Olivares, Melesio Camargo and Epifanio Rodríguez, for their reluctance to accept that the population should unite in negotiating the price for commonly held land and for other benefits. Regarding the damage, it is anticipated that the affected inhabitants will demand that Luismin pay 28 pesos for each square meter; Luismin will also have to pay about 30 small landholders for damages to their land parcels, totalling about 300 hectares.

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