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López Obrador reiterates proposal to purchase Riviera Maya land from Vulcan Materials

Mexico City, Mexico — President Andrés Manuel López Obrador reiterated the proposal to rescue and purchase 2,400 hectares of land from Vulcan Materials.

On Friday, he pointed out that the American company, for 36 years, has exploited without measure 1,200 hectares of jungle, underground rivers, cenotes and mangroves in Quintana Roo to extract limestone for U.S. export.

For several decades, the Sac-Tun (formally Calica) company carried out blasting to break up karst soil as deep as 11 meters below the water table. The continuous use of explosives contaminated the water with nitrates and other substances, he said during his Friday press conference.

The mining activity destroyed the diversity of the site by affecting 942 species of flora and fauna. This is the largest ecological disaster caused by a foreign company in the Yucatan Peninsula, particularily in Riviera Maya, he said.

“Sac-Tun incurred another illegal action with the retention of groundwater in 4.24 square kilometers, that is, more than 40 million cubic meters. The concession to the company was for just 1.7 million cubic meters, which means that it used 20 times the volume it had authorized. This caused the collapse of caverns, as well as sinkholes in the area.

“The company has exploited limestone rock since 1986, violating environmental regulations and permits granted by authorities. Until now, no environmental remediation projects have been carried out in the area despite the obvious damage caused to nature,” he explained.

“They (Americans) always talk that they are very concerned about climate change, what more support to conserve the environment than accepting an agreement like the one we are proposing?” the president questioned before media.

“The territory, that entire area was destroyed and we are going to defend that this area can no longer continue to be used as a material bank. In addition, they have about 2 thousand more hectares under concessions and it is jungle. “It is not possible to allow them to continue exploiting,” he added.

Last month, López Obrador pointed out that parent company Vulcan Materials had not responded to Mexico’s offer to purchase the land.