FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 6TH, 2009
MEXICAN COURT RULES CANADIAN MINING OPERATION ILLEGAL
Citizens' coalition urges Canadian and Mexican authorities to demand Vancouver-based "New Gold" respect the rule of law.
MONTREAL - On September 24th, the Federal Fiscal and Administrative Justice Tribunal of Mexico ruled that the Mexican federal Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) must revoke the land usage permit granted back in April 2006 to Minera San Xavier, a subsidiary of Canada-based New Gold (TSX: NGD). The ruling implies the full shut-down of the open-pit gold and silver mine in Cerro San Pedro, San Luis Potosi.
"The ruling confirms that this project has been operating illegally since it lost its permit in October 2005 due to the severe damage it would cause to the area," says Dr. Juan Carlos Ruiz Guadalajara of the Frente Amplio Opositor (FAO). The ruling ends a decade-long legal campaign by the FAO, a broad coalition of environmental and community groups, to halt a project that has in just over three years destroyed the better part of what had once been a historic and environmental preserve protected by state decrees. There is no possibility of appeal. The SEMARNAT has until Friday, November 13th 2009 to comply with the ruling.
For residents of Cerro de San Pedro and the neighbouring city of San Luis Potosí (population 1.3 million) New Gold's mine has been a terrible chapter in their history and so they are delighted to see that justice has been served. The problem, however, is that previous rulings against the company have not been applied.
"The ruling also indicates that the second permit obtained by New Gold in 2006 was illegal," adds Ruiz Guadalajara. "The most distressing part of this story is that this second permit was secured through a network of corruption made up of company officials and Mexican authorities." Ruiz Guadalajara believes that if New Gold is once again allowed to continue operations, it will provide a serious and negative precedent: "Canadian mining companies will now know that they can work in complete legal impunity."
The Frente Amplio Opositor is now organising a campaign in Mexico and in Canada to ensure that Mexican authorities enforce the ruling and that the Canadian mining company respects the rule of law in Mexico.
Bills C-300 and C-438 are a made-in-Canada response attempting to regulate, at home, companies operating overseas, such as New Gold.