MEXICO CITY (AFP) – Civil protection authorities have confirmed new toxic spills in northwestern Mexico, where a massive acid spill from a copper mine contaminated waterways.
Sonora’s civil protection union said it “implemented protocols to protect the surrounding Sonora River population, after confirmed reports of toxic spills from the Buenavista del Cobre mine”, a subsidiary of Grupo Mexico.
Environmental protection agency PROFEPA said late Sunday that the spills were triggered by heavy rains from Hurricane Odile, stressing that the level of contamination was not a health hazard.
During an over flight of the mine, civil protection authorities observed the spill spreading to tributaries leading to the Bacanuchi River.
The Buenavista copper mine is one of the biggest in the world, with annual production of 200,000 tonnes.
On August 6, a leak in a container caused an environmental catastrophe that spilled 40,000 cubic meters of sulphuric acid in the Tinajas stream, located in the town of Cananea, which connects the Bacanuchi River to the Sonora River.
The spill contaminated water reaching seven towns, affecting a total of about 20,000 inhabitants.
On Friday, the Sonora government announced a break with the company, saying mining executives have hampered investigations.