Mexican mine approved at Texas border town

TEXAS state authorities have approved the re-permitting of Mexican junior Dos Republicas’ controversial Eagle Pass coal mine.

Justin Niessner

The mine in Texas’ Maverick county is capable of producing 2.7 million tonnes per annum of coal and plans to ship all its output across the nearby border to Mexico.

The permit issued yesterday from the Railroad Commission of Texas will allow Dos Republicas to extract more than 11Mt, effectively doubling the current scope of the now-dormant mine.

Dos Republicas said Eagle Pass would operate for about seven or eight years, create 60 jobs and stimulate the economy.

The company also said the mine’s thermal coal used at power plants in the neighboring Mexican state of Coahuila would benefit Maverick county since the entire region shared the same power grid.

Local residents have argued that the environmental impact was unacceptable. A petition signed by thousands of Maverick country residents raised concern about coal pollution in the Rio Grande River and noted that Mexcian coal plant emission standards were insufficiently strict.

Community resistence to the re-development of the mine has had little impact, particularly after the influencial Kickapoo tribe officially withdrew its oppostion in May last year.

Dos Republicas is a San Antonio-based subsidiary of Mexcian company Minera del Norte, which in turn is part of steel giant Grupo Acerero del Norte.

The company said last year it had decided to use an experienced US mining company to operate Eagle Pass.

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