The worldwide demand for silver has gone up, due to the material needs of computers, medical catheters, jewelry, etc.. Old mines are being reopened, and the high price per ounce has made this very lucrative.
In Mexico “Real de Catorce” (the Royal 14) of San Luis Potosi is a historical silver mining area (it appears that the historic mining town of Real de Catorce is one scene in the movie “The Mexican“). Here vanadium has been mined for the use in ball bearings and aircraft materials for the last 30 years, and so roads are open, and blasting has occurred periodically. Now, with a huge demand for silver, the whole area is being considered for pit and strip mining, along with continued tunneling and blasting. Foreign countries have invested in this bonanza, and equipment plus financial capital are making progress extracting silver.
This is taking place in the Huichol Holy Land of “Wiricuta“, located in the general vicinity of Real de Catorce. United Nations UNESCO is considering designating this Huichol sacred site as a World Heritage Site, and thus recommends recognition and protection.
There is growing concern for the preservation, of at least a small part, of the Huichol Holy Land, within the boundaries of mining claims and activities. Old dirt roads have been paved, traffic and train activity has increased, blasting has continued, and urbanization is expanding into this region. The mining offers Mexico jobs and profits, thus the situation is for the Huichol Indians is very difficult. Recently some protection has been given, to certain areas within the region, and this might extend further in the future.
(c) Paul C Adams 2014