MAC: Mines and Communities

Cerro De San Pedro And Minera San Xavier

Published by MAC on 2001-05-01
Source: Pro San Luis Ecológico ()

Cerro de San Pedro and Minera San Xavier

With the purpose of getting you in touch with the problem that has been going on in Cerro de San Pedro, a town located 12 kilometers from capital city of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, with the Canadian mining company called Minera San Xavier for 8 years, we urge you to read the following information.

Historical background

Cerro de San Pedro was found in 1592 because of its rich gold and silver deposits. Its historical importance is manifested today in the fact that Cerro de San Pedro is located in the center of the shield of weapons of the state of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, on which rests San Luis King of France.

In the center of the Hill (Cerro mans hill or small mountain) are the pits of the mining exploitation and to the sides of the personage are found bars of gold and silver. That is to say, thanks to Cerro de San Pedro San Luis Potosi was founded.

In addition to its glorious past, its temples that date back to the XVII century and in itself all its architecture is exceptional to such degree that the National Institute of Anthropology and History, INAH, carried out all the works that are required so that the UNESCO could consider it as part of the historic patrimony of the nation. At present is found in procedure the declamatory of Cerro de San Pedro as Zone of Historic Monuments.

Once the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, entered in vigor in 1994, the Mining Canadian business called Minera San Xavier conceived the idea to explore the old mining town of Cerro de San Pedro with the purpose of exploiting its resources, gold and silver.

Impacts

The company called the inhabitants from the town to a meeting during which was explained to them that the project implied the disappearance of the town, that of their temples and houses but that they would offer them money in order for them to build new houses and to be relocated.

To carry out such exploitation it is required the disappearance of 1 km. of mountains continuing subsequently toward the subsoil with a depth of between 250 and 350 meters. To exploit the Hill on which the town rests will need 13 tons of explosives based on nitrato of amonio. Instead of a hill there will remain a crater… the Crater of San Pedro.

To extract the mineral there will be needed another 16 tons of cianuro of sodium mixed with 32,000,000 pure liters of water that would come from the water deposits that supply the city and which, like the ones that live in San Luis Potosi know, is in danger to be exhausted because of over explotation. The cianuro of sodium with the water produces acido cianhídrico, which once evaporized will travel daily toward the city and populated neighbor towns.

It is also proposed to utilize other 25 daily tons of composed explosives of Nitrato of Amonio in order to extract 75,000 daily tons of material. The explosions would produce large quantities of dust that can cause sufferings such as pulmonary fibrosis and “silicosis,” an irreversible illness that often incapacitates common miners.

The people of San Pedro, Soledad de Graciano Sánchez, Los Gomez, Pozos, Armadillo de los Infante, San Luis Potosi and other near-by populated towns would be inhaling constantly all these contaminants.

Some of the legal aspects that are being violated

Federal laws:

a) Article 35º of the Federal Law of Weapons of Fire and Explosives, indicates the demand of a perimeter of 1,000 meters of the place of storage and consumption of explosives, free of constructions for house room, historic zones and archaeological zones. If the project is carried out tons of explosives would be utilized to do the cut just 50 meters away from the town.

b) Article 3º of the Presidential Decree of June 2, 1961 prohibits for an indefinite time the use of water from the subsoil of the Valley of San Luis Potosi without previous written permission by the Secretary Office of Hydraulic Resources.

c) The Agrarian Law establishes the obligation of the authority to assess and to protect the ”ejidatarios,” (like cooperative members). Mining San Xavier negotiated with the “Asamblea Ejidal” the leasing of its lands without the Agrarian Attorney's office to comply with its obligation to assess the coop members. The contract of leasing mentions persons that do not appear in the National Agrarian Registration. This means that the company legally lacks the title of the property it wishes to exploit.

State, municipal and local laws

a) Article 7º of the Environmental Law of the state of San Luis Potosi published in the “Periodico Official”of December 15, 1999, establishes the attributions of the Executive in environmental matter. These attributions do not include the faculty to offer floor use licenses in a specific area or region. The executive power was exceeded in its functions when it offered and gave such permission in May, 2000.

b) Article 15º of the Constitution of the State of San Luis Potosi establishes the right of the inhabitants to enjoy a healthy environment with the obligation of the municipal and state governments “to conserve, to protect and to improve the natural resources of the state (or entity) as well as to prevent and to fight environmental pollution.

Know more about the problematic and participate actively in defense of the patrimony that is of us all. Come to the III Cultural Festival de Cerro de San Pedro that will be in March 6 and 7.

Patronato Pro-Defensa del Patrimonio Cultural e Histórico de Cerro de San Pedro, A.C.
Colectivo Azul
De lirio Azul
Asociación de vecinos de Cerro de San Pedro
Educación y Defensa Ambiental, A.C.
Pro San Luis Ecológico A.C.

Adriana Estrada and Helena Hofbauer, Impactos de la inversión minera canadiense en México: una primera aproximación, México D.F., septiembre del 2001. (De FUNDAR, Centro de Análisis e Investigación, whose President is Dr. Sergio Aguayo and Vicepresident Emb. Olga Pellicer, amongst others)

Gilberto Estrada Harris, Tras lomita: de lo global a lo local. Las empresas transnacionales y la participación de la sociedad civil: el caso de Cerro de San Pedro, reading prepared for the III Festival Cultural de Cerro de San Pedro, with the collaboration of the students of Political Sciences and Public Administration of UCEM, San Luis Potosí, March 6th and 7th, 2004.

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