Copper mining pollutes river in Mexico

On August 2014, a tailings spill from the world’s third largest copper producer, Buenavista del Cobre (Grupo México), spilled 40 million liters of a toxic solution containing copper sulfate, lead and arsenic into the Sonora and Bacanuchi rivers. The tailings spread along the river for more than 250 km and affected more than 22,000 people in seven municipalities in the state of Sonora (Arizpe, Banámichi, Huepac, San Felipe de Jesús, Aconchi, Baviácora and Ure), in northern Mexico. It was defined as “the worst environmental disaster in the history of the mining industry in Mexico” by the Mexican government.

The popular committees of Cuenca del Rio Sonora (CCRS) are now denouncing the international campaign #7anosDeImpunidad. The population requires 36 water treatment plants, installation of a supply network in all affected communities and a health clinic with a laboratory to treat and diagnose diseases associated with the toxic spill. They also await the requests presented to the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection to explain the inexplicable conclusion on the investigation of the damage caused by mining and an urgent call to the National Water Commission (Conagua) to restore the quality of water for human consumption. On October 4, the deadline to publicize the diagnosis of water quality in the region ended. The claims are for justice, compensation, reparation and non-repetition. To date, no promises from the government or Grupo México have been kept: thousands of people still do not have access to drinking water, including contaminated wells, and without medical attention. Diseases associated with environmental toxicity have exploded. With high levels of copper sulfate, arsenic and lead, the population is developing respiratory, gastrointestinal, skin, and nervous system diseases, among others.

“For the right of our sons and daughters to live in a healthy environment for their development and well-being, for the right to health and access to quality water for all the communities of the Sonora River, we say:

Enough of # 7yearsofImpunity!

Repair the damage!

Guarantee of non-repetition!

Clean water for the Sonora River!

Learn more:

Timeline of Impunity – Copper Sulfate Leak in Mexico: https://bit.ly/3kNrXvL
Grupo México leak: https://bit.ly/3kIReqD
Sonora River Actions: https://bit.ly/3AQl6Hl

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