Mexican miners are challenging Sonora lawmakers over a proposed green tax, sparking fears of mine closures in the country’s biggest copper- and gold-producing state.
If enacted into law, the levies would target residue deposit and storage, soil, subsoil and water pollution, as well as atmospheric emissions. According to a popular sentiment in the region, this tax targets miners, though it is said to be applicable to any company whose activities adversely affect the environment.
In a release, Karen Flores, director of Camimex, Mexico’s mining chamber, said the taxes would render Sonora the most expensive mining jurisdiction in the world, effectively repressing investment, disrupting the state’s supply chains, closing mines, and resulting in thousands of layoffs. Flores added that the industry is already highly regulated.
The state of Zacatecas introduced similar taxes in 2017, prompting swift litigation from mining companies. However, the state has had little trouble defending its imposition of the taxes through the courts.
Also at issue is the 7.5pc mining royalties—traditionally invested in local infrastructure projects—now being diverted to fund school improvements. The contentious green tax has already been earmarked to replace those lost funds. The mining industry in Mexico claims it is already heavily taxed and already pays a 30pc corporate tax, 7.5pc mining royalty, and 0.5pc special mining tax, along with a profit-sharing bond with workers.