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Ongoing Sac-Tun dispute could end up in court says AMLO

Mexico City, Mexico — The ongoing dispute over the Playa del Carmen limestone mine with the Government of Mexico could end up in court. On Wednesday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the disagreement with the U.S. company Vulcan Materials could end up in national and even international courts if an agreement is not reached.

“If we do not reach an agreement, we go to courts, national and foreign,” he said during his Wednesday morning press conference.

In May, the U.S.-based company Vulcan Materials that owns Playa del Carmen-based Sac-Tun, said that it was open to exploring ways to adapt its activities to support tourism in the region as long as it could continue to supply stone aggregates to its U.S. customers.

However, according to the President, the parties had agreed to suspend extraction processes while negotiations were being carried out.

In early May, authorities temporarily shut the 400-hectare Sac-Tun mine outside Playa del Carmen after a flyover showed the company still extracting stone, something Mexican officials have referred to as a “serious deterioration of the ecosystems” of the zone.

“The approach is that we do not want the environment to continue to be destroyed, using that area as a material bank and that material be taken to build roads in the U.S., that is destruction, dynamite, explosives are used,” he said.

On Monday, a private meeting was held at the National Palace between López Obrador and the executive director of Vulcan, Thomas Hill. Other Mexican and U.S. officials were part of the closed door meeting that lasted just over two hours.

“We met and talked,” AMLO said but “they did not comply with an agreement. We had agreed that the excavation work would stop until an alternative tourism project for environmental protection was defined and we thought that they were complying, that work was not being done.

“I went a month later because I am supervising the Maya Train and they informed me that they had not stopped working and I had to verify it because I did not believe it and I flew over the area and in effect they were working,” he said.

“On our part there is a will to reach an agreement,” he added saying that the mine remains closed for having breached their agreement to not operate until a settlement was reached.