Exclusive: Goldcorp struggles with leak at Mexican mine

Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:13pm EDT
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By Allison Martell, Frank Jack Daniel and Noe Torres

TORONTO/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican regulators said they are examining whether mining company Goldcorp Inc (G.TO: Quote) broke any regulations in its handling of a long-running leak of contaminated water at Mexico's biggest gold mine.

The move follows questions from Reuters about the leak, which until now has not been disclosed to the public.

Levels of the mineral selenium rose in one groundwater monitoring well near Goldcorp’s Penasquito mine as early as October 2013, Goldcorp data reviewed by Reuters shows.

The Canadian company reported a rise in selenium levels in groundwater to the Mexican government in October 2014, after which the contamination near its mine waste facility intensified, according to internal company documents seen by Reuters, and interviews with government officials. Two weeks ago, the company told Mexican regulators that contaminated water had also been found in other areas of its property.

There is no evidence that the leaks at the mine have endangered public health or caused environmental damage, Goldcorp and regulators say.

Goldcorp said it has not informed villagers living near the mine because its tests showed the leak had not affected groundwater beyond its property line or contaminated the local drinking water.

(Graphic: tmsnrt.rs/2b3A4lt)

The company was not legally required to tell the community, Mexican regulators said. The head of the industrial inspection unit at Mexico's environmental prosecutor Profepa, Arturo Rodriguez Abitia, said it would have been preferable for Goldcorp to inform the local community about the leaks, but that it was not obliged to do so if the problem had not spread beyond its boundaries.   Continued...