Mexico Says Mine Slow to Report Huge Acid Spill
MEXICO CITY — Aug 12, 2014, 3:01 PM ET
By MARK STEVENSON Associated Press
A civil defense official says a private mine in northern Mexico did not immediately report a massive acid spill, allowing it to flow into a river that supplies water to tens of thousands of people.
Carlos Arias, director of civil defense for the northern state of Sonora, said the spill at a copper mine near the U.S. border was caused by defects in newly constructed leaching or holding ponds.
Such ponds hold the overflow of acids used to leach metal out of crushed rock. But Arias said a pipe either blew out or became unseated on Aug. 7, allowing about 10 million gallons (40,000 cubic meters) of mining acids to flow downstream into a river.
"Definitely ... it was an error" in the design or construction of the retaining pond, Arias said.
He said the sulfuric acid spill was detected by residents downstream the next day, and that the mine operators hadn't notified state authorities.
Arias said tests have revealed the spill contains pollutants like arsenic above acceptable levels. Water supplies from the river have been cut off to about 20,000 people.
The Grupo Mexico company operates the Buenavista mine in Cananea, Sonora. The company did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
Arturo Rodriguez, the head of industrial inspection for the Attorney General for Environmental Protection, said the mine did advise his agency almost a day after the spill, just within the 24-hour time limit for filing such reports.
He said lax supervision at the mine, along with rains and construction defects, appeared to have caused the spill. Rodriguez said mine operators should have been able to detect the leak before such a large quantity leaked into the river.
Authorities are trying to de-acidify the water in the Bacanuchi and Sonora rivers by adding calcium, Arias said. "What you can't get rid of are the heavy
Southern Copper Buenavista mine spill hits Sonora MX Rivers
News reports claim copper mine spill turns Mexico’s Bacanuchi River water orange, allegedly killing fish and cattle.
Author: Dorothy Kosich
Posted: Monday , 11 Aug 2014
RENO (Mineweb) -
A second chemical spill has taken place at a North American mine, withMexico’s Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente (PROFEPA, attorney general for environmental protection) ordering Grupo Mexico subsidiary Southern Copper to make “full remediation” for a 1.4 million cubic feet spill of sulfuric acid into the Bacanuchi River.
Authorities imposed restrictions on the water supply to several towns and cities in northwest Mexico after the spill allegedly turned the water orange. The National Water Commission said it was monitoring chemicals in the Bacanuchi and Sonora Rivers following the spill at the Buenavista copper mine in Cananea, south of the U.S. border in Arizona.
Impacted towns include Arizpe, Banamichi, San Felipe de Jesus, Aconchi, Baviacora, Ures and the Sonora state capital, Hermosillo.
Sonora is Mexico’s leading producer of gold, copper and graphite and other mined products.
Mexican Court Dismisses Grupo Mexico Attempt to Derail Personal Lawsuit against CEO Germán Larrea Filed by Investment Firm Infund
More than seven percent of Grupo Mexico equity continues to be judicially frozen pending conclusion of litigation.
Posted by Tracy Alloway on Mar 02 15:34.
Does the US government’s 36 per cent stake in Citi violate Mexican ownership laws? Have we got our countries confused? No.
Citi owns Banamex, a Mexican bank with circa 1,200 branches and 2.6m checking accounts. And Latin American finance blog Inca Kola sees a fight brewing over the Southern subsidiary:
The nub of the issue revolves around Mexican law, which states in crystalline manner that foreign governments cannot own more than 10% of any bank that operates inside Mexico. It’s as clear as a bell and on the statute. So as Banamex is a wholly owned subsidiary of Citigroup (C paid $12.1Bn or so back in 2001 for the bank) if the US Gov’t takes its 36% stake in Citigroup then it will be a larger-than-10% shareholder of Banamex, something against Mexican law. Won’t it?
Mexico’s National Banking and Securities Commission is therefore investigating, while Banamex is saying that the North American Free Trade Agreement will (somehow) protect it.
As Inca Kola also notes, selling Banamex would effectively mean an even worse deal for the US government. The unit’s been described by Citi as one of its “crown jewels”, managing to post an $896m net profit for 2008, making it one of the least toxic parts of the banking group. Banamex is accordingly part of Citicorp — the retail (read: non-toxic) part of the Citi empire. Inca Kola says (emphasis ours):
So here’s the question that’s been itching at me all weekend: Do Citigroup’s intentions regarding Banamex signal that the US Gov’t is only (or majority) buying into Citi Holdings, the toxic end of C?
It’s intriguing. It would be an über-underhand move concealed from the market so far and would cause uproar if the news hit. If it is true, then the US taxpayer is getting an even worse deal than s/he thought. In fact, it would likely make Uncle Sam the majority holder in the toxic bank to end all toxic banks.
However, if in all likelihood it’s not true and the US gov’t is getting 36% of the whole shebang, Citigroup is undoubtedly breaking Mexican law by holding onto ownership of Banamex. So either Mexico changes the law to suit present circumstances (possible, though it will be an absolute political field day for Calderon’s opposition) or Banamex will have to be sold to a third party, something that Pandit clearly doesn’t want to happen.
MEXICO BANK REGULATOR EYES CITIGROUP RESCUE PLAN
MEXICO CITY, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Mexico's bank regulator said on Friday it is analyzing the legal implications of the U.S. government's plan to boost its equity stake in Citigroup Inc (C.N).
Analysts say Citi might have to sell its Banamex bank in Mexico because of a law prohibiting foreign governments from owning Mexican banks. (Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Gary Hill)