Mexico and Canada uphold impunity in Blackfire case

Jamie Kneen Communications and Outreach Coordinator responsible for: strategic research, social media, and public engagement; our Africa program, environmental assessment, and uranium mining.

(Chiapas, Mexico) Two years have passed. In March 2010, a complaint was presented to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for allegations of corruption of the mayor of the municipality of Chiapas. Mexico on the part of Canadian mining company, Blackfire Exploration. Two years later, a request for infomation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) from Canadian organizations under the access to information act has received no response.

For its part, in Chiapas, a request for information presented to the Auditor’s Office of the state of Chiapas by the Mexican Network of Mine Affected Communities – Chiapas has not yet received a response. The query asked for information about the destination and use of funds received by then municipal president Julio César Velázquez based on evidence that he had been receiving direct payments from the Canadian mining company.

On March 10, 2010, nine Canadian civil society organizations presented a complaint to the RCMP under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act. Over a year later, in August 2011, it was revealed that the federal police had begun investigations. Reports indicated that a raid had been carried out on the company’s Calgary office.

We demand that the Canadian and Chiapas governments respond to these requests for information to make it clear who is responsible for corruption in the case of Blackfire Exploration.

We also demand that the Canadian government approve Bill C-323, which would permit foreign citizens to sue mining companies in Canadian courts for the violation of human rights of communities affected by Canadian mining investments.

It is in the context of the assassination of Mariano Abarca Roblero on November 27, 2009, as a result of his opposition to the impacts from Blackfire’s mine in Chicomuselo, Chiapas, that residents of the community of Santa María also in Chicomuselo are now complaining over the presence of heavy transport vehicles moving barite out of their community. We join with them in calling for a municipality free of mining projects.

Mexican Network of Mine-Affected Communities – Chiapas