MEXICO CITY Aug 20 Mexico's Congress on
Wednesday urged the government to cancel Grupo Mexico's
concession to operate one of the world's biggest copper mines
after a toxic spill there earlier this month.
The federal attorney general's office for environmental
protection (Profepa) says the spill pumped 40,000 cubic meters
of toxic mining acid into the Bacanuchi river in northern Sonora
Profepa said on Monday it would bring charges against Buena
Vista del Cobre, the Grupo Mexico subsidiary that
operates the copper mine.
Metals miner and railroad operator Grupo Mexico is in the
midst of a $3.4 billion expansion project at the mine, which is
formerly known as Cananea and has the largest proven copper
reserves in the world. The expansion aims to boost production
capacity to 1.3 million tonnes by 2017.
The permanent committee that presides over Congress when it
is not in regular session urged the economy ministry to "order
the cancellation of the concession given to Grupo Mexico
regarding the Cananea mine as a result of the ecological damage
and the imminent risk the population was subjected to."
It also called on the state of Sonora's government to
suspend activities at the mine.
A spokesman for Groupo Mexico was not immediately available
President Enrique Pena Nieto said early on Wednesday that
damage done by the spill to the surrounding population and
environment was high, and added that he assumed small sanctions
"would not do."
(Reporting by Mexico Newsroom; Editing by Dan Grebler)