McGill Research Group Investigating
Canadian Mining in Latin America

Mina de Cata, Mexico

Key Data

Company:Great Panther Operational status:production Materials extracted:silver Type of mine:underground Main issues:water, pollution


Mina de Cata is located in the mining district of Guanajuato, Mexico. Most mines in Guanajuato’s mining district have been exploited since the colonial period. In 1939 president Lazaro Cardenas expropriated the mines from foreign investors and twenty-nine mines, including Mina de Cata, came to be owned by a cooperative of workers known as Minera Santa Fe[i]. On July 2005, members of the cooperative signed an agreement to sell Minera Santa Fe. However, on November 2005, they demanded the annulation of the agreements signed on July arguing that information had been manipulated so they would sign them. They also filed a lawsuit against Canadian corporation Great Panther Resources Limited and its Mexican subsidiary Minera Mexicana El Rosario to prevent them from acquiring their mining claims[ii]. On March 2006, Subcomandante Marcos from the Zapatista Army of National Liberation met with members of Minera Santa Fe’s cooperative and proposed an international boycott of Mexican consulates and pacific civil action to protest against privatization of Mexican mining companies and actions of   “Partido Accion Nacional”(PAN), a right-wing political party[iii]. However, the same year Great Panther acquired Minera Santa Fe’s mining rights through their Mexican subsidiary Minera el Rosario[iv].

In 2007, a 23 year old worker of Mina de Cata died trapped in mining machinery. Miners stated that when Minera el Rosario acquired the mines it reduced its personnel making working conditions dangerous form miners[v]. An article in local Newspaper “Periodico el Correo” stated that miners working conditions were “illegal and inhumane”[vi]. In 2008, Rafael Zarate Araiza, president of Guanajuato’s municipal council for water management (Simapag) stated water reservoir La Purisima had been contaminated by mining activities[vii]. Water reservoirs La Soledad and La Esperanza have also been contaminated[viii].

On May 2008, around one hundred members of the mining cooperative Minera Santa Fe protested at the municipal hall and local congress to denounce the violation of their property rights by Great Panther’s acquisition of their mining claims through their subsidiary Minera Mexicana del Rosario[ix]. A month later, the Mexican Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) temporarily suspended activities of Great Panther’s Mexican subsidiary due to “irregularities” and environmental damage[x]. In 2011, a worker was hospitalized after suffering an electric shock and third- degree burns[xi].


[i] “La defensa del “último reducto de la minería social” en Guanajuato”, Centro de Medios Independientes Chiapas, March 14, 2006 http://www.olca.cl/ocmal/ds_docu.php?nota=Documento&p_busca=129

[ii]Patricia Munoz, “Minera Canadiense tras Rica Minera de Guanajuato”, La Jornada, November 16, 2005. http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2005/11/16/index.php?section=sociedad&article=050n1soc

[iii] Hermann Belinghausen Enviada, “Llama Marcos a Boicot internacional contra gobiernos y candidatos de AN”, La Jornada, March 13, 2006. http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2006/03/14/index.php?section=politica&article=021n1pol

[iv] Alfonso Ochoa, “Perforaciones de minera canadiense afectan presas”,  June 16, 2008.  http://www.buenastareas.com/ensayos/La-Historia-Universal-De-La-Infamia/461494.html

[v] Arturo Tavarez, “Capitalino pierde la vida en Mina de Cata”, Periodico Correo, July 31, 2007. http://periodicocorreo.com.mx/hemeroteca/notaseant.php?btbuscar2=Ver+más&texto2=mina+de+cata&nota_id2=34692

[vi] Alfonso Ochoa, “Oro Tenido de Sangre”, Periodico Correo, December 7, 2009. http://periodicocorreo.com.mx/hemeroteca/notaseant.php?btbuscar2=Ver+más&texto2=mina+de+cata&nota_id2=140160

[vii] “Cancela Profepa trabajos de la minera El Rosario”, Periodico Correo, June 26, 2008.http://www.olca.cl/ocmal/ds_docu.php?nota=Documento&p_busca=128

[viii] “Great Panther contamina presas”, Periodico Correo: el Diario del Estado de Guanajuato, June 18, 2008. http://www.olca.cl/ocmal/ds_conf.php?nota=Conflicto&p_busca=52

[ix] Martin Diego, “Desconoce minera a cooperativistas”, La Jornada, June 18, 2008.http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2008/06/19/index.php?section=estados&article=036n3est

[x] “Cancela Profepa trabajos de la minera El Rosario”, Correo Guanajuato, June 26, 2008. http://www.olca.cl/ocmal/ds_docu.php?nota=Documento&p_busca=128

[xi] Alejandro Acevedo, “Se electrocuta en la Mina de Cata”, Periodico Correo, February 11, 2o11. http://periodicocorreo.com.mx/hemeroteca/notaseant.php?btbuscar2=Ver+más&texto2=mina+de+cata&nota_id2=209157

Timeline of Key Events