MEXICO – Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has opened an investigation into the toxic spill from the Buenavista del Cobre mine into the Bacanuchi and Sonora rivers in the northwest of the country, that has affected local inhabitants and killed fish and livestock in the area.
According to information published by the media and quoted by the CNDH, there was a spillage last Thursday from one of the dams containing solutions with sulphuric-treated copper and other metals that found its way into the rivers.
A 60-kilometer (38-mile) orange slick was seen in the municipalities of Arizpe, Banamichi, Baviacora, Aconchi, Cananea, Hermosillo and Ures, all of them in the state of Sonora.
Mexico’s National Human Rights Commissioner Raul Plascencia said inspectors will be sent to the area to gather information and provide legal advice.
The National Water Commission has restricted water supply in the seven affected municipalities to prevent putting the inhabitants’ health at risk.
The federal prosecutor for environmental protection (PROFEPA) said a well containing the chemical substances near the mine overflowed due to heavy rains last Thursday.
The Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) as well as PROFEPA are coordinating efforts to protect the flora and fauna of the region.
PROFEPA has also ordered the Buenavista del Cobre company, owned by mining giant Grupo Mexico, “to provide full remediation” for the spill.
Sonora is the country’s leading producer of gold, copper and graphite.