Published On: Tue, Aug 19th, 2014

Schools close due to Mine’s Toxic Spillage in Sonora, Mexico

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Up to 5,000 pupils have not been able to start the school year in the northern Mexican state of Sonora after a toxic spillage from a copper mine.

The authorities said 88 schools were not able to open this week for fear pupils could come into contact with water contaminated with acids.

The spillage from the mine turned a tributary to the Sonora river orange.

Environmental authorities have filed a criminal complaint against the copper mine blamed for the accident.

Environmental protection officials also ordered an inspection of all of the properties belonging to the Buenavista del Cobre company to ensure they comply with environmental regulations.

The schools said they would remain closed for at least a week.

View of a water drain in the surroundings of the Buenavista copper mine on August 13, 2014 The spillage is said to have affected about 800,000 people in the Sonora region (Photo: BBC)

View of a water drain in the surroundings of the Buenavista copper mine on August 13, 2014 (Photo: BBC)

Water emergency

The Buenavista Copper Mine in the town of Cananea spilled about 40,000 cubic metres (10 million gallons) of sulphuric acid into the Bacanuchi river on 7 August, officials say.

Residents were alarmed to see the Sonora River looking like this (Photo: BBC)

Residents were alarmed to see the Sonora River looking like this (Photo: AFP)

About 800,000 people are estimated to have been affected by the leakage. Locals said cattle grazing by the river and fish had been found dead.

Cananea, Sonora is just a few miles South of the US border

Cananea, Sonora is just a few miles South of the US border

Mexico’s National Water Commission says it is monitoring the chemical levels in the river.

It said if the levels continued to drop, the emergency it had issued could be lifted later this week or early in the next.

Sonora is home to more than a quarter of Mexico’s mining industry.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/

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