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Old 08-24-2014, 01:48 PM
cmac2012's Avatar
Renaissance Dude
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Berkeley, CA
Posts: 15,464
Water in the Cabo/southern Baja area - proposed gold mine

Regular readers of my column may recall that I visited Todos Santos, Baja Sur about a year and a half ago. Flew to the San Jose del Cabo airport. Todos Santos is about 50 miles north on the west coast. I drove back to the Bay Area with my friend who wanted to be with her daughter for the birth of her first grandchild in Humboldt.

The area is not a hard desert, a la Iraq. For most of the trip, ample desert flora was to be seen - lot of large cactus and other exotic plants. But it is fairly dry and water in general is not in long supply. Just about the entire water supply for the whole area comes from the mini rain forest, probably not the correct phrase, around the Sierra de la Laguna, a small mountain range in southern Baja:

Sierra de la Laguna - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I believe the highest point is about 6200 feet. My friend makes a good case that w/o that water, the tourist and native residency areas would all but not exist.

There is a move afoot to stop a proposed gold mine from going in up in those hills. She sent me this online petition recently:

The page is in Spanish. Google translate makes it readable if not especially elegant:

To extract gold from the stones are used and generate hazardous chemicals such as cyanide, arsenic, sulfuric acid, lead and other heavy metals. The dust generated by the daily explosions and mine operation would cover a radius of up to 170 km with harmful effects on plants and animals, polluting the water, air and soil from the municipalities of La Paz to Los Cabos, this would increase the rate of cancer and other chronic or fatal diseases. The Sierra de la Laguna captures the water we consume throughout the southern state. Sierra born in our water; while in regions such as La Paz, Todos Santos and Los Cabos just rain just over 10 inches per year in the highest parts of the Sierra falls an average of one meter of rain per year How could we put our main source of risk water that is contaminated by hazardous chemicals which generates a surface mining?

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Last edited by cmac2012; 08-24-2014 at 02:43 PM.
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Old 08-24-2014, 04:17 PM
elchivito's Avatar
ĦAy Jodido!
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Rancho Disparates
Posts: 4,073
I read the company's webpage. They say all the right things. Using desalinated sea water to be later reclaimed, not fresh water, sealed concrete bases for all chemical reactions, very nice sounding. Sadly in Mexico there is no oversight. You can say whatever you want and do the exact opposite and nobody will do anything about it as long as the right palms are greased. I signed the petition.
You're a daisy if you do.
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Old 08-25-2014, 02:59 AM
cmac2012's Avatar
Renaissance Dude
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Berkeley, CA
Posts: 15,464
Thanks. I can only imagine that what you suggest is the way things would go down. The mining industry in general issues soothing talk about how careful and responsible they will be. My friend has had more than her fair share of contact with the gold mining industry. She lived with her hubby and kids (before divorce) for about 30 years in N. Central WA, Okanogan county.

Lot of back to the land hippies up there. One large bit of land (600 acres) that many lived on is near the town of Chesaw, close to the Canadian border. The community struggled against the establishment of a cyanide leach pit mine being put in on Buckhorn mountain, 3 miles east of that spread for about 15 years, before finally losing the battle about 7 years ago. The community organization monitors the mine pretty closely and the operators regularly fall short of the high standards they promised they would observe.

But hey, it'll provide 150 jobs for about 15 years. Which is like, forever.

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