It is no myth that mining often takes place in remote areas. But besides extracting mineral wealth, the fruits of the industry also impacts locals as it generates a significant economic spillover that can make the community flourish. Such is the case of San Jose del Progreso, an isolated municipality in Oaxaca, where Compañía Minera Cuzcatlán has held operations since 2010.
Part of Fortuna Silver Mines, the company’s efforts to give back to the area where it operates have contributed to strengthening the social tissue through infrastructure, education and social programs. In the first seven years of operation of the San José mine, the investment in the community exceeds MX$120 million.
Education is at the core of the social programs promoted by the company. So far, 60 scholarships have been granted and more than 600 students receive sponsorships for school supplies. But the focus is not only on enlightening the youth, as education programs also target the elderly. According to INEGI, the rate of high school enrollment increased by 6.8 percent to 10.3 percent in 2015 from 3.5 percent in 2010.
The education programs are aligned with the development of better infrastructure. Minera Cuzcatlán built the Communitarian Childs Home and contributed with the roofing of the preschool institutions in Maguey Largo, El Cuajilote and San Jose la Garzona. It also donated the land for the expansion of the San José de Progreso’s local school.
Lined up with the community’s need for enhanced infrastructure, several churches are being built and rehabilitated. In 2016 a network for sewage and drinking water supply was developed across 2.5km on the main streets of the area. SEDESOL’s numbers report the impact these investments have had. The rate of families without safe water services in San José del Progreso decreased to 58 percent in 2015 from 88 percent in 2010, accounting for a benefit to 480 families.
Vulnerable families are also given the benefit of improving their residences through the donation of construction materials. With more than 1,500 actions up to date, this program’s success has decreased the number of families living in a soil floor by 10 percent. To improve the quality of living, health facilities were also built in several localities, such as Vasquez and Cuajilote.