Extractive industries don’t extract just the resource they want to sell, they also extract a lot of other resources in order to get at the riches they covet.
And when it comes to minerals — a category that includes oil and gas — extraction requires water, and a lot of it.
On this side of the border, communities are rapidly learning that fracking is highly water intensive, extracting clean water from streams and wells to blast apart shale layers with the help of a witches brew of chemicals concealed from the public by intellectual laws.
When the water come back out of the ground, high polluted as it is, spills and other forms of contamination are inevitable.
And when it to traditional traditional mining, toxic spills are inevitable.
This year has already witnessed the major toxic contamination of the 300 miles of the Doce River in Brazil after a tailings pond breached, killing twelve and contaminating the water supplies of 200 or more communities.
Today’s story isn’t about a spill, though.
It’s about water, and the threat posed by government policies that put communities at risk for the sake of corporate profits.
From teleSUR English:
A Canadian mining giant sucks up more water than any other in the north-central Mexican state of Zacatecas, where mining corporations use more water than the entire local population and concerns are rising about highly unequal access to the scarce and precious resource, according to a study reported by the Mexican daily La Jornada on Tuesday.
According to the report completed by researchers from the Autonomous University of Zacatecas, the Mexican water authority, known as Conagua, has given the greenlight to national and transnational mining companies operating in Zacatecas to use over 14 million gallons (nearly 56,000 cubic meters) of water per year.
Meanwhile, over half of the aquifers being exploited, or seven of the 12, already suffer a water deficit that isn’t being replenished and is affecting supply in local communities. Overall, 14 of the 34 aquifers statewide show signs of depletion and overexploitation, according to the report.
By far and away the biggest water offender in the region is the Canadian mining giant Goldcorp, through its local subsidiary Peñasquito, at a total of nearly 12 million gallons of groundwater use every year. Goldcorp has repeatedly been accused of being behind massive environmental damage and human rights abuses in the Americas, while Canadian mining corporations in general have a notorious record in Latin America and Africa