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Toxic mine spill in Mexico has contaminated the Sonora River basin

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Mexican authorities in the northern state of Sonora have issued a new alert of a toxic spill in the Sonora River basin from a copper mine that is operated by the mining giant, Grupo Mexico. The mine, located in Buenavista del Cobre, became flooded due to the heavy rains that occurred during Hurricane Odile.

Local officials are urging the 25,000 residents in the area to avoid using the water after local municipalities complained of a toxic plume, according to Sonora’s civil protection director, Carlos Arias. Mr. Arias also said that some of the tributaries that have been affected drain into the Bacanuchi River.

Mr. Arias said that a flyover of the area shows an abnormal orange stain, and that his department is taking measures to ensure that both people and livestock in the area don’t come into any contact with the water until it can be properly tested for contaminants.

Grupo Mexico blamed Hurricane Odile for the spill, as storm water overflow from the hurricane’s excessive rain caused toxic water from the company’s Buenavista copper mine to leak into nearby creeks and streams. The company was eventually able to contain the spill with pumps and suction, but neglected to identify which substance had been leaked.

Mexico’s top environmental official has already accused the company of lying about an earlier spill back in August which saw millions of liters of acids and heavy metals to contaminate two rivers and a dam downstream. Officials have also accused the company of lying about the measures that it took to control the effects.

Read more about the story at BBC.

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