Vulcan Materials remains locked in struggles over Mexican operations

Birmingham-based aggregates firm has operated in Mexico for more than 30 years

A Vulcan Materials quarry. Photo by Samantha Mays/Vulcan.

Birmingham-based Vulcan Materials remains locked in a struggle with the government of Mexico over its facilities in the coastal Quintana Roo area.

The Mexican government shut down Vulcan’s limestone quarrying operations in 2022, claiming the work caused environmental damage. Vulcan denied that claim.

Last year, according to Reuters, the government offered about $391 million U.S. dollars for the property, but Vulcan told Reuters this week, “The truth is that at no time have we received a ‘generous offer’ to buy our property. We were given an informal appraisal, without signatures and without details, that substantially undervalues our assets, including the limestone reserves of which we own under Mexican law, as well as the only deep draft port in the region.”

Mexico News Daily, an English-language Mexican news outlet, reported today that Mexican takeover of the property is “imminent,” adding that the government plans to make it a natural reserve with rental cabins and cruise ship docking facilities.

The online news outlet reported: The Sac Tun quarry and the Punta Venado marine terminal — located south of the resort city of Playa del Carmen — was occupied by Mexican Navy personnel for several weeks beginning on March 14, 2023, in what Vulcan called “an illegal takeover.” [Mexican President Andrés Manuel] López Obrador said that judges had authorized the action, which allowed Mexican cement giant Cemex to use the port to unload cargo.

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In a statement earlier this month, Vulcan said, “The company strongly believes that this action by the Mexican government is illegal. The company has the necessary permits to operate and intends to vigorously pursue all lawful avenues available to it in order to protect its rights and resume normal operations.”

The statement continued: “In March, Vulcan received its routine three-year customs permit, which enabled the company to continue serving its customers.

“The company has quarried limestone legally in Mexico — on land that it owns — for over 30 years. Vulcan has the right to maintain full ownership of its properties, owns the limestone reserves in the same, and complies and has always complied with Mexican law, including the laws and permitting regulating our operations from which we service our customers both in Mexico and abroad.”

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