On March 10, 2021, PBI-Canada organized a virtual meeting for Isela Gonzalez of Alianza Sierra Madre (ASMAC) in Chihuahua, Neftali Reyes of Services for an Alternative Education (Educa) in Oaxaca, and Rubén Flores from the community of Magdalena Ocotlán.
The defenders spoke about Canadian mining concessions in these communities:
Coloradas de La Virgen
ASMAC accompanies the Indigenous community of Coloradas de la Virgen in the Sierra Tarahumara region in the northwestern state of Chihuahua.
Indigenous Rarámuri defender Julián Carrillo spoke against the environmental impacts of a concession near his community granted to a Canadian mining company without free, prior and informed consent just a week before he was murdered in October 2018.
This civil society statement highlights that the concession was given to Vancouver-based Evrim Resources Corp (now named Orogen Royalties). And Proceso recently reported on concessions in the area granted to individuals that involved Canadian capital.
Educa Oaxaca accompanies Indigenous communities, including Magdalena Ocotlán and San Jose del Progreso, that have rejected the San Jose mine in the southern state of Oaxaca.
That mine is owned by Vancouver-based Fortuna Silver Inc.
This mine was first developed in 2009 without free, prior and informed consent. In March of that year, residents set up an encampment at the entrance to the mine. By May, 1,000 state and federal police evicted the camp using helicopters, tear gas and dogs.
There have been four deaths in direct relation to opposition to this mine, including Bernardo Vásquez who was killed on March 15, 2012.
Fortuna Silver is now seeking a massive expansion of that mine. It has submitted an environmental impact assessment (MIA) for approval by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). That decision is expected at the end of March.
PBI continues to monitor these situations closely, particularly in relation to the security of defenders participating in the court hearings of those convicted in the killing of Julian Carrillo as well as the ongoing mobilizations against the expansion of the San Jose mine.