Nacozari de Garcia Mine Tailings Community Meeting: Long Awaited Answers to a Local Age Old Problem

The Nacozari de Garcia community meeting was held February 5, 2009 in Sonora, Mexico.  The meeting was coordinated by U.S.-Mexico Binational Center collaborative researcher, Dr. Diana Meza Figueroa, and her team at the University of Sonora in Hermosillo, Sonora.  It was held at the playground of the Jardin de Niños Renacimento where teachers helped in the preparations as well as presented art projects the children had worked on to show their support.  A total of 250 local citizens attended the event where they received information regarding the Sonoran Remedial Project (Dr. Meza Figueroa), physical stabilization plans (Dr. Sergio Alana Moreno Zazueta), phytoremediation overview (Ms. Julie Nielson), and potential community activities (Ms. Denise Moreno Ramirez).  Additional support was provided by Ms. María Adelina Fierros Estrada, Municipal Attorney for Nacozari de Garcia and Mr. Saul Ruiz Fernandez, Deputy Director for environmental protection for the Sonora Commission for Ecology and Sustainable Development. Also, local industry, government, and media were in attendance. 

The citizens showed interest in the project which would deal with the historical mine tailings located in the center of town and adjacent to some of their homes.  They have been dealing with fine dust particulates for many years.  They were pleased to learn that the stabilization plans incorporated the development of a recreation area.  In addition, many citizens signed up to develop future environmentally themed projects via a community organization.

The Sonoran Remedial Project is possible through a collaborative binational effort that encompasses various stakeholders.  The community meeting counted on support from the following entities:  Mexican Secretariat for the Environment and Natural Resources, Sonora Commission of Ecology and Sustainable Development, Border Environmental Cooperation Commission, Mexicana de Cobre S.A de C.V., University of Sonora, and U.S.-Mexico Binational Center (The University of Arizona).