The Story of Ixtepec, Mexico: Protecting Land, Establishing No Go Zones for Mining

Yes to Life, No to Mining welcomes our new members No a la Mina Ixtepec from Mexico to our global solidarity network. In this article you can discover more about the mine threatening Ixtepec and the people’s inspirational resistance to this project.

Originally published by YLNM members CATAPA. April 22nd 2016.



Ixtepec, Mexico, is now being menaced by a surface mining project. In 2008 the Mexican government granted authorisation to a subsidiary of the Canadian company Primero Mining to extract gold and silver in more than 3 000 hectares of our surface. The people gathered in assemblies and rejected the project in 2014. However, instead of cancelling the project, the government increased the surface to more than 8,000 hectares which represents 30% of the town and the contamination of the regional river.

The project

Ixtepec is a town located in the Ishtmus Of Tehuantepec, in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. The story of this town goes back to 1400 BC. During its more than 3 000 years of existence it has been occupied by populations from different cultures, which have contributed to shape it until what we know now. Nowadays its population is around 25 000 people who come from diverse origins. The Zapotec people are the most numerous.


Since 2008 Ixtepec is facing the biggest challenge in its history. The Mexican federal government has given authorization to the company Plata Real, a subsidiary of the canadian Primero Mining, to extract gold and silver for the next 50 years in a zone denominated lote Niza.
Due to the well known consequences and special damage to the environment caused by surface mining, the Comisariado de Bienes Comunales (a community representative before the government and other instances) has revoked this authorization in a resolution proclaimed in 2014, however, the federal government, against all people decision, has decided to extend the original surface of the zone from 3,850 hectares to 8,150, covering 30% of Ixtepec’s surface, that includes many neighbourhoods in the north side.

The extremely high use of water and the contamination of rivers and other sources caused by the mine will not only be perceived in Ixtepec but also in many towns and cities mainly where the Río de los Perros (the regional river) crosses. This is a clear displacement menace for thousands of people in the region.

For more information please read the manifesto Zapotec for the Defense of Our Mother Earth and the Life of Our People.
Recent Developments

Some developments in the region are already in place for a while, but last year the neoliberal government in Mexico pushed for a reformation in the energetics law which has now as a consequence that Mexicans have lost their oil, they have more authorizations for transnationals to extract minerals and also authorizations for wind turbines which are not really improving anything but causing fights among communities and military / paramilitary intervention. On the bright side some towns are now declaring NO GO zones for mining.

It is well known for many of us what the consequences of these projects are upon the environment, so the community is being informed in meetings and when towns are big almost this campaigns go almost block by block.

Unfortunately the so called ‘War on Drugs’ is now the vehicle for neoliberal impositions, this is happening in the whole country and it is very well documented by Dawn Paley, for example. Basically the paramilitary groups start to attack the population, they always identify themselves as cartel, then the federal police and military are authorised to enter the zones which of course causes panic and an extremely difficult environment for social protest, as is the case in Ixtepec, where suddenly, it turns out that they are now a dispute zone for the cartels.


More information:…

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