(Reuters) – Mexico will go to local and international courts if there is no agreement with the US company Vulcan Materials Co. about its mining operations in the eastern state of Quintana Roo, said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday.
The Mexican government shut down the company’s operations earlier this month, citing concerns about how the company’s underwater limestone extraction has affected the local environment and groundwater surface.
The president’s comments were the latest chapter in a long-running dispute between the Mexican government and the Alabama-based company.
At a regular new conference, Lopez Obrador said the company̵7;s methods of extracting limestone amounted to “ecological disaster” and said discussions were underway with the company to find another use for the site.
“What is very clear is that we do not allow any further extraction of the material,” the president said, adding that operations would remain suspended until an agreement was reached on the future use of the site.
Mr Lopez Obrador has previously complained about the “destruction” of the area as a result of the Vulcan mine.
In February, the Mexican government said it was negotiating a $ 1.1 billion settlement by Vulcan over an earlier closure of the quarry.
In April, Interior Minister Adan Augusto Lopez said Vulcan had accepted a proposal to make the quarry a tourist attraction.
US-based Vulcan, a leading manufacturer of gravel, sand and crushed stone, operates in Mexico through its Calica unit, which has several concessions in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo, where it mines crushed limestone which is later shipped to the United States, where it is used in the construction.
In an email on Wednesday, Vulcan spokeswoman Janet F. Kavinoky said the company was trying to resume discontinued operations.
“As we have indicated before, Vulcan has the necessary permits to operate the business and intends to vigorously follow all legal avenues available to protect its rights and resume normal business,” Kavinoky said.
Earlier this month, a group of 10 US Republican senators sent a letter to US President Joe Biden asking him to take a stronger stand against Lopez Obrador’s “aggression” against US companies in Mexico, citing the Vulcan case.