We share the statement of the Union of Ejidos and Communities in Defense of Land, Water and Life, Atcolhua adressed to Almaden Minerals’ investors.
Northern Highlands of Puebla, June 28, 2021. We, the members of the Union of Ejidos and Communities in Defense of Land, Water and Life, Atcolhua, call on the investors in Almaden Minerals (TSX: AMM; NYSE: AAU) to reconsider their position on this project of death at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on June 29th. We are in favor of projects of life and they will never have any social license to operate!
As you may know, the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) rejected with strong arguments the Environmental Impact Assessment presented by Almaden. Now, the members of the Affected Communities are calling the investors in Almaden Minerals to reconsider their position on this project and take into account the following points regarding the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting:
- Whether there are new directors in the company or not, the project will not move forward. The proposals for new directors show us the attempt to maintain the enormous inequality in the information that can be obtained about the project, and not for the benefit of the inhabitants of the area, of all forms of life, of the natural commons and the protection of our environment in Puebla and in our communities and ejidos. We are not the beneficiaries.
- You will be considering compensating executives who have been unable to listen and understand the unsustainability of the project proposed by Almaden.
- The impacts to our environment and human rights is of interest and material risk to you. We will continue to support life projects and not the other way around, as we have done for more than 20 years.
- The company has not complied with UN or OECD international standards for due diligence on human rights and environmental issues. In other words, it is outside the minimum standards for a business project. Its investors must also do their due diligence on human rights and environmental issues and act in accordance with their responsibility to protect human and indigenous rights.
- The company says it is considering formal structures to address the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors of the Ixtaca Project, but it appears that you are not being informed that the Project does not even have permits to operate. In ESG terms the company says it considers environmental and social responsibility as central to the permitting and development of the Ixtaca Project. The CSR reports are not looking at what we have reiterated on countless occasions as we defend life and our territory.
- The Ixtaca Project is Almaden’s only project and the moment the company doesn’t have a valid permission to explore according to the SEMARNAT.
- According to the company, the vice president is responsible for ensuring compliance with health, safety, environmental and community, and corporate standards, and to report to the CEO. There seems to be information lost along the way.
- The media in Mexico are aware of this case and most report truthfully and objectively.
The project will never have the trust or environmental and social merits in Ixtacamaxtitlán. There is no feasibility and we are not interested in weaving any ties with the company. The water we have is scarce and we will defend it despite the company’s fantasies about new sources and “economic prosperity”. We decide what is prosperous or not from our own vision. There is NO way we will give our consent. It doesn’t matter if they resubmit a new proposal or Social Impact Assessment. NO IS NO.
Despite the fact that some people (leaders) from the community of Santa María, where the mine is intended to be built, have been co-opted, most of the surrounding communities have shown their disagreement and rejection of the mining project, but also communities and municipalities that live on the banks of the Apulco River have also shown their rejection. So it is not only a community rejection, but a regional one.
In recent years we have sought institutional causes to demand respect for our human rights, and we are fighting Almaden Minerals’ mining concessions in the area through legal channels and will continue to do so until our region is free of concessions.
Be clear that as time goes by, our struggle and our opposition to the mining project becomes more robust and we suggest that you do not continue to invest your capital in it, because as we have demonstrated, we will not let the project go through and you will lose your investments.
We repeat, there is no relationship between the company and the communities that defend life and territory.
We emphasize that neither Almaden Minerals, nor its subsidiaries or other mining companies have had or will have the permission of the communities to exploit the natural commons of our territory. If Almaden Minerals insists on its project of death, the communities will keep our efforts to prevent it.
For the self-determination of peoples, yes to life!
Union of Ejidos and Communities in Defense of Land, Water and Life, Atcolhua.