Residents worry about the water quality two years after copper mine’s toxic spill
Two years after what has been described by federal authorities as Mexico’s worst environmental disaster, many residents who live near the Sonora and Bacanuchi rivers fear for the quality of their water and others for their health.
A spill at the Buenavista del Cobre copper mine in Cananea, Sonora, on August 6, 2014 released 40 million liters of copper sulphate solution into the two rivers and affected at least 21,000 residents of the region.
The copper mine, one of the world’s largest, is owned by Arizona-based Southern Copper Corporation, which is part of the Mexican mining company Grupo México. In addition to paying a 23-million-peso fine, the company agreed to put up 2 billion pesos for a trust fund that would repair the damage and pay compensation to victims.
But today many questions remain about how that money has been spent, the prospects for a specialty health clinic that was to treat the victims and why three dozen promised water treatment plants have not been built.
Some answers may come as a result of an order issued this week by a federal court in Arizona, according to organizations that sought the order. Southern Copper Corporation was given until August 18 to release information about the spill. The information will be used to strengthen legal arguments in Mexico against the mining company, said the organization Committees of the Sonora River Basin.
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