MAC: Mines and Communities

Mexican Court Orders Immediate Halt to Canadian project

Published by MAC on 2009-11-09
Source: FAO-Montreal, New Gold (2009-11-02)

Two declarations have circulated in the past week, seeking support for a campaign against the Cerro de San Pedro mine in Mexico, operated by Canada's New Gold Inc.

In a recent court ruling, New Gold's partner, Minera San Xavier, lost its single-most important operating permit, according to the Frente Amplio Oposito (FAO).

For its part, in a press statement dated November 2, New Gold  tired to assure critics that "all permits, licenses, concessions or authorizations that are required to operate its Cerro San Pedro Mine are valid and in force".

ESPAÑOL

Mexican Superior Court Orders Immediate Halt of New Gold’s project at Cerro de San Pedro

FAO-Montreal - http://faomontreal.wordpress.com

30 October 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AND WIDESPREAD DISTRIBUTION: MEXICAN SUPERIOR COURT ORDERS THE IMMEDIATE END OF NEW GOLD - MINERA SAN XAVIER’S MINING PROJECT AT CERRO DE SAN PEDRO, SAN LUIS POTOSI

On the 24th of September, 2009 the ninth Tribunal of the first circuit courts ordered the Federal Tribunal of Fiscal and Administrative Justice to emit its sentence on the suit presented by Pro San Luis Ecologico. It reads:

“…the plaintiff’s suit is well-founded. Be it resolved, on basis of art. 239-B:IV of the Federal Fiscal Code, that the authorization accorded to Minera San Xavier, S.A. de C.V. in the permit S.G.P.A./DGIRA.DG.0567/06 by the Director General of Environmental Impacts and Risks at the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) is null and void. By our order the SEMARNAT, which has already ignored a previous ruling by the court on the 5th of October, 2005, has 20 days to advise the affected party and carry out the sentence.”

CONCLUSIONS:

a)      SERMARNAT, in complicity with Minera San Xavier, violated the law by granting the company its permit on the 10th of April, 2006. This was made clear in the Federal Court’s sentence of the 5th of October of 2005 which stated that not even in a conditional form could the SEMARNAT emit the land-use change permit to the company.

b)      This violation of the law involved a diverse set of people, principally the managers of the company, authorities of the previous state, federal and municipal levels, as well as various members of the Partido de Acción Nacional. These individuals must be judged and punished.

c)      With this sentence, Minera San Xavier has lost its single-most important operating permit (which, indeed, it never had). We must also remember here the long line of injunctions against the company that were obtained by the members of the Nucleo Ejidal Cerro de San Pedro, injunctions that have been systematically ignored.

d)      The illegal work of New Gold – Minera San Xavier has created severe and irremediable consequences for the natural environment of the Valley of San Luis, such as the loss of a unique environmental and historical heritage for the Mexican nation.

THIS SENTENCE BEGINS THE FINAL LEGAL COLLAPSE OF NEW GOLD –MINERA SAN XAVIER. THE COMPANY HAS NO LATER THAN THE 15TH OF NOVEMBER TO CEASE ALL ITS OPERATIONS. THIS IS A HISTORIC TRIUMPH THAT WE WILL DEFEND WITH ALL OUR DETERMINATION.

STOP THE IMPUNITY!
HALT THE ILLEGAL OPERATIONS OF NEW GOLD-MINERA SAN XAVIER IMMEDIATELY!
PUNISHMENT OF THE GUILTY PARTIES!

Given the above, the Frente Amplio Opositor a la Minera San Xavier demands the immediate intervention of the state’s new authorities to stop this ecocidal company and to begin an investigation that will identify the culprits and bring them to justice for their crimes against Mexico’s national sovereignty.

TO ALL THE CITIZENS AND ORGANIZATIONS WHO STAND IN SOLIDARITY HERE IN MEXICO AND ACROSS THE WORLD:

THE FAO IS PUTTING OUT AN URGENT CALL FOR HELP IN SPREADING NEWS OF THE IMINENT DEPARTURE OF NEW GOLD-MINERA SAN XAVIER FROM THE CERRO DE SAN PEDRO POTOSI.

WE WILL BE WATCHING THE FEDERAL AUTHORITIES. WE ASK THAT BY JUSTICE AND REASON THEY HELP US IN THE IMMEDIATE APPLICATION OF THE LAW.

THE DESTRUCTION OF CERRO DE SAN IS A DEEP WOUND FOR THE VALLEY OF SAN LUIS. IT IS BUT ONE OF MANY OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS GENERATED BY CORRUPTION AND INFLUENCE PEDDLING.

IMMEDIATE APPLICATION OF THE LAW AND PUNISHMENT OF THE CULPRITS! IF THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN WE WILL ACT ACCORDINGLY.

“THE HOURS OF THE POLITICAL CLOCK ARE ALSO NUMBERED; THE POLITICAL LEADERS OF THE COUNTRY MUST NOT FORGET THIS.”
– SALVADOR NAVA.

We leave you with the contact information for various authorities, Mexican and Canadian, so that you can help us demand the immediate application of the law. This declaration is accompanied by a press release with a synthesis of the legal struggles surrounding this case since 2005 which details the violations committed by government authorities and the company with severe environmental, social and juridical consequences for the nation. Lastly, as a gift, we include the link to the video clip of Lic. Hector Barri’s press conference delivered in San Luis Potosí which explains this final chapter. New Gold must now answer for the damages it has created through this illegality.

Thank you for your solidarity. We will keep you all informed.

-FAO-

Lic. Hector Barri’s Press Conference: Minera San Xavier-New Gold must leave Cerro de San Pedro
http://proyectocerro.blogspot.com/2009/10/fao-conferencia-prensa-28-oct-09.html

Guillermo E. Rishchynski, Ambassador of Canada to Mexico
guillermo.rishchynski@international.gc.ca,

Douglas Challborn, Canadian Embassy in Mexico
douglas.challborn@international.gc.ca

Lic. Fernando Gómez Mont, Secretario de Gobernación:
secretario@segob.gob.mx

Ministro Presidente Guillermo I. Ortiz Mayagoitia
SUPREMA  CORTE D E JUSTICIA  DE  LA  NACION
administrator@mail.scjn.gob.mx

Dr. José Luís Soberanes Fernández, Presidente de la CNDH,
presidencia@cndh.org.mx correo@cndh.org.mx

FELIPE DE JESÚS CALDERÓN HINOJOSA
Presidente Constitucional de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, DISTRITO FEDERAL, México
Teléfono (55) 50935300
felipe.calderon@presidencia.gob.mx

LUIS FELIPE BRAVO MENA
Secretario Particular del C. Presidente de la República
luisfelipe.bravomena@presidencia.gob.mx

Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada
Secretario del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales
c.secretario@semarnat.gob.mx

MICHAËLLE JEAN
Gobernadora General de Canadá
info@gg.ca

STEPHEN HARPER
Primer Ministro del Canadá
pm@pm.gc.ca


Sign declaration to support Cerro de San Pedro
 
The Mexican courts have ruled that Canadian mining corporation New Gold Inc. has until the 13th of November (less than 2 weeks!!!!) to shut down its mine at Cerro de San Pedro. Many have heard of the project and its devastating impacts (see http://faomontreal.wordpress.com/ or scroll to the bottom of this message for the details).  The court ruling is a major victory, but we need to pressure the Mexican authorities to actually apply the ruling.

On behalf of the "Frente Amplio Opositor" in Mexico, I’m asking that you add your name (and any affiliation if you want) to an international declaration urging Mexican authorities to enforce the ruling.  Many of us are sceptical about the impact of petitions and declarations, but this time it looks like a strong showing of international support could actually mean the end of New Gold Inc. in Cerro de San Pedro.  A victory in Cerro de San Pedro - after a 10-year struggle - could set a precidence for the 100s of canadian corps mining in Mexico.

The signatures are being compiled and will be published along with the declaration in the national newspapers of Mexico this coming weekend. We need indication of your support by noon, Friday the 6th. The declaration is below this short message. To add your name, please send your name with the subject heading "support for Cerro de San Pedro declaration" to jcruizguadalajara@gmail.com.

To the publics of Mexico and across the World

2 November 2009

On the 24th of September, 2009 the ninth Tribunal of the first circuit courts ordered the Federal Tribunal of Fiscal and Administrative Justice to emit its sentence on the suit presented by Pro San Luis Ecologico (Exp. 170/00-05-02-9/634/01-PL-10-04-QC-DA, pages 239 and 240). It reads:

“…the plaintiff’s suit is well-founded. Be it resolved, on basis of art. 239-B:IV of the Federal Fiscal Code, that the authorization accorded to Minera San Xavier, S.A. de C.V. in the permit S.G.P.A./DGIRA.DG.0567/06 by the Director General of Environmental Impacts and Risks at the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) is null and void. By our order the SEMARNAT, which has already ignored a previous ruling by the court on the 5th of October, 2005, has 20 days to advise the affected party and carry out the sentence.”

The sentence of the 5th of October, 2005, cancelled in a definitive manner New Gold-Minera San Xavier’s mining project. This sentence was the product of another order obtained in the injunction D.A. 65/2004-873 of the 23rd of June, 2004. It reads: “…in conformity with the law, the court calls attention to the illegalities that have been brought to light. Consequently a land use permit can not be authorized, not even in a conditional manner.” (pg. 202).

The response of the Mexican ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) was to ignore this sentence. Instead it gave a land-use change permit to New Gold – Minera San Xavier on the 10th of April, 2006 with even less conditions than those asked for in the original permit that had been rejected. This act has finally been declared unjustified and illegal by the Tribunal of the Judicial Authority of the Federation, which determined that since 2005 the issue had been tried and resolved. New Gold-Minera San Xavier’s project violated, amongst many others, a range of environmental laws as well as a decree that was designed to protect the wild life and vegetation of the zone affected by this project.

The project also violated official regulations that protect rare species of cacti that are endemic to the region. It jeopardized the valley of San Luis Potosi through its massive and irremediable contamination of a territory occupied by more than 1.3 million people as well as its aquifer. This is without mentioning the irreversible damage to the historical heritage of the nation.

The land use change licence obtained by New Gold-Minera San Xavier in 2006 was no accident. It was drafted in the law offices of Angel Candia Pardo, lawyer for the company and for the Partido de Acción Nacional in the state of San Luis Potosí. Together with individuals from the private sector, three levels of government, the Canadian managers of the company an open pit mining project was developed at the cost of ignoring national laws, the health of the inhabitants of San Luis Potosí and environmental heritage of future generations of Mexicans.

Ample proof of all of this was presented by members of the FAO to New Gold-Minera San Xavier but it has been steadfastly ignored by the various parties that had bearing on this case. Thanks to the protection of this illegal license the company has caused wide-spread destruction of the area. In only 34 months, without even working at full capacity, the company has, amongst other things, levelled two patrimonial mountains and has buried extensive areas of a territory that had been protected by law. We are before one of the most dramatic and representative cases of the environmental impacts generated by the generalized corruption that exists in our country.

For all these reasons, the following signatories demand the immediate execution of the sentence passed on the 24th of September, that is, the immediate and definitive cessation of the illegal operations of New Gold-Minera San Xavier in San Luis Potosí. We also ask, with respect and vigour, that the legislature forms an inter-parliamentarian commission to fully investigate this matter in order to establish where responsibilities lie.

We will be closely watching to assure the strict application of the State of Law by the relevant authorities as well as any instance of contempt to the courts that would maintain the operations of New Gold – Minera San Xavier in Cerro de San Pedro.

Halt the impunity!

New Gold – Minera San Xavier must respect Mexican law!!


The background:

On the 24th of September, 2009 the ninth Tribunal of the first circuit courts ruled that the land use change permit accorded by the Mexican ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) to New Gold’s (TSX: NGD) open-pit gold and silver mine at the Cerro de San Pedro to be null and void. SEMARNAT has been given until Friday the 13th of November to enforce this decision and shut down the mine.

This decision – which is definitive and without appeal – is the culmination of a ten-year legal campaign to save the environmental and cultural heritage of the valley of San Luis Potosí and Cerro de San Pedro. On October 5th, 2005 the Federal Tribunal of Fiscal and Administrative Justice revoked New Gold’s permit because the project violated a range of environmental laws, a state decree protecting rare and endemic forms of flora and fauna, and because it would compromise an aquifer that the 1.3 million people of the zone depend on.

Despite this, the SEMARNAT issued a new permit to the company. There is documented evidence that this was obtained thanks to the work of Angel Candia Pardo, lawyer for the company and for the Partido de Acción Nacional in the state of San Luis Potosí. This is the permit that has now been declared illegal by Mexican superior court. In general, close links between the company managers and political authorities at the municipal, state and federal levels have been identified as the main reason why New Gold has been able to develop its project over the years.

This is why public opinion, both in Mexico and internationally, has to be mobilized now. We need to make it strong and clear that this company can not continue to operate illegally and that the relevant authorities have a duty to enforce this sentence.



New Gold Clarifies Recent Misinformation Regarding its Cerro San Pedro Mine

New Gold Inc. Statement

2 November 2009

New Gold Inc. confirms that all permits, licenses, concessions or authorizations that are required to operate its Cerro San Pedro Mine are valid and in force.

New Gold has filed an appeal to a recent decision of the Federal Court of Fiscal and Administrative Justice in Mexico pertaining to the process by which the Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS") for the Cerro San Pedro Mine was approved in 1999. Over the last ten years a small group opposed to the mine has conducted an ongoing series of challenges, appeals and counter appeals related to the EIS approval process. This latest decision does not affect Cerro San Pedro's other permits, including its operating permit or its ability to conduct business.

"New Gold is a welcome member of the Cerro de San Pedro community and has demonstrated its commitment to corporate social responsibility through meaningful support to our schools, health services and infrastructure improvement," stated Mr. Santos Loredo Tenorio, President of the Cerro de San Pedro Municipality. "The company's contribution to sustainable community development and our future is greatly appreciated."

Robert Gallagher, President and CEO of New Gold stated: "We are committed to operating in a socially responsible and sustainable manner in all the regions where we operate.  New Gold is confident that all legal requirements related to its Cerro San Pedro Mine are being achieved or exceeded and that ongoing legal activities do not impact the continued operation of the mine."

New Gold's Cerro San Pedro Mine has had excellent operational performance in 2009 and has an enviable record of meeting its environmental and social responsibilities. The operation achieved ISO 140001 certification of its Environmental Management System to ensure globally recognized standards are achieved and routine third party monitoring and reporting is performed in accordance with the ISO requirements.

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