Reuters. – A major Canadian miner is trying to avoid closing a silver mine in Oaxaca after his environmental permit expired last month and was left in limbo.
The potential closure of the San Jose mine, operated by a local unit of Fortuna Silver Mines, is part of a long struggle over a project that could dampen the appetite of investors in Mexico, the world’s largest silver producer.
While the facility has been in operation since 2011, its main environmental license expired on October 23, despite the company’s efforts since May to request an extension of the permit. A recent court order allows the miner to continue working, but only temporarily.
Fortuna has invested about $350 million in an underground mine in Oaxaca, where it employs 1,200 workers. Fortuna also operates units in Argentina, Burkina Faso and Peru.
Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that despite ongoing meetings between company officials and executives, the future of the mine remains in doubt.
The Environment Secretariat issued a statement Thursday saying it would work to organize a consultation with Indigenous communities close to the project as part of the environmental mandate, without providing details on the timing of the consultation, and did not say whether the mine would continue to operate. She works a lot.
The press office of Minera Cuzcatlán, a unit of Fortuna, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On October 25, the Canadian company said that extending the permit is usually a routine process, but it has become onerous.
Environment Minister Maria Luisa Albores met in April with activists seeking to shut down the mine, according to a photo posted on her Twitter account. The mine’s non-conformists criticized what they said were dozens of unauthorized construction work at the site.
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A senior environment ministry official told Reuters in September that mining companies in Mexico should face stricter environmental reviews given the significant impacts of their projects.
Last year, San Jose was the seventh largest producer of silver in Mexico, with a production volume of 6.2 million ounces, as well as nearly 38,000 ounces of gold.