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Cerro de San Pedro, a town with an incredible struggle

The present and future of this beautiful place is uncertain. I travelled there on Saturday with participants in the mining diploma program that REMA (Red Mexicana de Afectados por la Mineria/ Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining) has organized to learn about the most experienced mining struggle in Mexico.

Cerro de San Pedro is a historic town founded in the 1500s because of the tremendous amount of gold and silver in the area. That wealth is responsible for the founding of the state’s capital San Luis Potosí, which is located very close by.

Several phases of traditional mining have happened in the town, but in 2006 the residents became well aware that a different kind of mining was about to start. The project by the Canadian-based mining company NewGold intended to displace the historic town with its open pit mine. One day residents saw how the company started to fence the whole town. Strong opposition has managed, until now, to save the town, but the mountain top is no longer there.

You can see in these two pictures how things have changed. Take the two churches as a reference point and you can see how the mountain has suffered an irreparable damage. What you cannot see in the picture is the crater below.

We climbed a mountain to view the lixiviation (separating) patios where cyanide diluted in water is sprinkled on the rocks taken from Cerro de San Pedro to separate the gold. We spoke with people in the community and saw the devastating landscape that this type of mining has left.

The Blue Planet Project and the Council of Canadians is committed to support the struggles in Latin America against bad Canadian mining that is heavily impacting communities and their water. Shout out for water and against mining injustice!