January 25, 2018

An indigenous community from the region of La Montaña (state of Guerrero) have been waging a legal battle since 2011 to prevent their lands from being conceded to mining companies. The indigenous Me’phaa community lives in San Miguel del Progreso, or Júba Wajiín in their indigenous language. In the last seven years, they have obtained two legal protection mechanisms that have rendered a mining project practically null and void.

“It is an open cast mine, that is to say, they are going to devastate the community and several other communities,” says Valerio Amado Solano, president of the San Miguel del Progreso communal property commission. Valerio has seen the effects of mining in other places: “we saw how the mountains were falling apart; the problems that the communities face right now, organized crime, many people are leaving their lands; so we already have evidence of what could happen to us."

The state of Guerrero is of interest to the mining sector due to its 42 deposits, and 38 concessions granted by the Mexican government for exploration and mining activities. But the rights of the indigenous peoples to territory, consultation and consent have not been observed. According to the latest report from the Tlachinollan Mountain Human Rights Centre, the communities that inhabit the region have identified mining extraction as one of the main threats to their territory, which is why they have developed a series of strategies in order to continue their resistance and struggle.

For the Me`Phaa people, the mining concessions granted by the Mexican State in La Montaña de Guerrero represent the imposition of a policy that undermines their way of life which is rooted in their ancestral worldview, where nature is understood as something sacred, something which is cared for and defended.

From PBI Mexico