Mexican President Threatens to Turn Disputed Vulcan Property into Nature Preserve

The land where a mine owned by Vulcan Materials is located in Mexico will become a nature reserve by decree if the firm does not accept the government’s offer to buy the firm out, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said.

Lopez Obrador has accused Vulcan, which extracts limestone in southern Mexico, of environmental damage, which the company denies.

“If there’s no answer from (Vulcan), if they don’t want to help, that will be the decision,” Lopez Obrador said. “It will simply be declared a nature reserve by decree.” The president added that Mexico was offering 6 billion pesos (US$328.32 million) to 7 billion pesos ($383.04 million) for the land.

Vulcan Chief Executive Officer Tom Hill, in letters sent to the ambassadors of both the United States and Mexico, said Vulcan has only received an “inadequate appraisal” of its property from Mexico’s government. He said he doesn’t consider the offer an act of “serious, good-faith negotiation or a reasonable attempt to fairly resolve the dispute.”

The 2,400 hectare (5,930 acre) plot located south of the resort city of Playa del Carmen includes a port and a quarry.

The land has been in dispute since May 2021. Earlier this year, Mexican police and soldiers illegally entered and seized the port.
“It should be clear that the rule of law is no longer assured for foreign companies in Mexico,” Vulcan Materials said in a statement. “This invasion, unsupported by legal warrants, violates Vulcan’s commercial and property rights.”

“This forcible seizure of private property is unlawful and unacceptable. It is shameful that this Mexican presidential administration would rather confiscate American assets than the fentanyl killing hundreds of Americans per day,” said Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) “Mexico should be more focused on going after the cartels than law-abiding businesses and hardworking people. President Biden must raise this directly with President Lopez Obrador and assure the American people that this will not be tolerated.”

Britt is urging the Biden administration to protect the Birmingham-based company’s employees and aggregates operations.

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