A modern train with the label 'TREN MAYA' on the side is superimposed onto an image of construction vehicles working in a rocky excavation site indicating ongoing railway construction work.

Maya Train Construction Ravages Yucatan Jungle: 474 Hectares Destroyed

The construction of the Maya Train and Tulum International Airport in Mexico has resulted in the opening of 18 mines, causing significant damage to over 474 hectares of the Yucatan Peninsula. These mines have not only stripped layers of soil but also severely impacted the area's geological and forest biodiversity.

The military company Grupo Aeroportuario, Ferroviario, de Servicios Auxiliares y Conexos, Olmeca-Maya-Mexica (Gafsacomm) is responsible for these open-pit mines. Environmental organizations have raised concerns about the aggressive impact on the environment, as the mining process results in the loss of soil and geological material.

The Ministry of National Defense (Sedena) began mining operations between 2021 and 2023. The mines are located in the Quintana Roo municipalities of Tulum, Solidaridad, Benito Juarez, and Felipe Carrillo Puerto. The largest mine spans almost 100 hectares and is situated near the Noh Bec lagoon and the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its environmental richness.

Sedena planned to extract over 10.8 million cubic meters of limestone, gravel, and sand for the construction of the Tulum airport and sections 5 north, 6, and 7 of the Maya Train. The mining operation was contracted to Equipos y Maquinarias del Sureste S.A. de C.V. and Explosivos Asturión S.A. de C.V. at a cost of 661 million pesos.

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However, there is a lack of transparency regarding the operation and permissions of the mines. Sedena has not disclosed the quantity of explosives used by the companies in their mining operations.

Environmental activists and organizations have voiced concerns about the negative impact of the mines on the region's wildlife and the loss of fauna. Despite these concerns, Sedena has continued with its mining operations.