A federal judge has ordered Mexico’s General Prosecutor to reopen an investigation against Buenavista del Cobre, a subsidiary of mining company Grupo Mexico, for what is considered the worst environmental disaster in the country’s history.
On August 6, 2014, a spill at Buenavista del Cobre’s mine at Cananea sent 40,000 cubic meters of acidified copper sulfate into the Bacanuchi and Sonora rivers, leaving 22,000 inhabitants of seven municipalities without drinking water.
Judge Jesús Alberto Chávez Hernández’s appeal nullifies earlier decisions of the Prosecutor’s office in December 2017 and July 2018, which called for the investigations to cease and be archived.
If this investigation concludes satisfactorily, the people impacted by this disaster would be eligible to demand reparation for the damage caused by the spill. The federal government has instructed Grupo Mexico to pay around 2bn pesos ($105.8mn) into a trust fund for such an eventuality.
Grupo Mexico said recently that the spill was attended to promptly and that there is no scientific evidence to prove that it affected the natural resources or the health of people living in the affected area.
Grupo Mexico is the largest mining corporation in Mexico and the third largest copper producer in the world.