Mexico's environmental agency shut down a part of Grupo Mexico's Guaymas plant after a faulty valve spilled over 3,000 liters of sulfuric acid into the Sea of Cortez.
Mexico's environmental authorities closed a mine in Sonora Saturday where 3,000 liters of sulfuric acid have spilled into the Sea of Cortes since July 9.
The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (Profepa) sealed up a part of the mine located in the port city of Guaymas along Mexico’s northwest Pacific coast where the toxic spill was registered. Only the spill site of the plant has been shut down.
Profepa made the move after a tank valve failed, causing the major spill into the ocean. The agency has reportedly initiated an administrative process against the copper mine owner, Grupo Mexico. The company is already under investigation for at least 22 other environmental accidents over the past decade, according to EFE.
Reina Castro Longoria, a marine biology researcher at the University of Sonora and a supplementary legislator told reporters last week that “the impact is undeniable; it was instant death for everything it touched: flora, fauna, the water, and the whole immediate area.”
The biologist and politician added: “It will also cause damage elsewhere as it disperses. I don’t say this to cause alarm, but this kind of thing has a domino effect, and it will break the ecological balance in that area, because sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive substance.
The mining company says it immediately applied environmental controls upon realizing the spill last week, saying that marine life was not harmed.
In the days following the July 9 spill, social networks showed images of dead turtles in nearby areas that raised questions from environmentalists as to whether they had died from the toxic spill, says EFE.
On Wednesday, protesters demanded Grupo Mexico be shut down, demonstrating outside their Hermosillo offices.
“In the short term, as soon as possible, within weeks, we want the government of Mexico to withdraw Grupo México’s concessions,” Alejandro Valenzuela told reports at the demonstration he helped organize.
The protesters carried signs that read: "Immediate withdrawal of concession for Grupo México for violating human rights" and "Grupo México, the Chernobyl of Sonora."