The seizure of an American company’s quarry facility in Mexico by the Mexican military and local state police has sparked outrage among former and current government officials, as well as appeals for the Biden administration and Mexico’s U.S. ambassador to intervene.
According to Vulcan Materials, a Birmingham, Alabama-based company and the largest producer of construction aggregates in the U.S., members of the Mexican navy, local state police, along with federal investigators, entered the quarry just south of Playa del Carmen in Mexico’s Quintana Roo state in the early morning hours of March 14. They then forced the company to allow CEMEX, a Mexican-owned materials company, to unload a shipment of cement from a ship in the port.
Vulcan previously leased land to and provided offloading and handling services for CEMEX at the site, but the agreement expired last December and talks for a renegotiated contract broke down. The company said CEMEX completed unloading the forced shipment on Friday. However, the military and police have remained in control of the property and have given no indication they plan to leave, the company said.
“I am writing to request that your government immediately order its forces and officials to leave our private property,” Vulcan Chairman and CEO J. Thomas Hill wrote in a letter to Mexican Ambassador Esteban Moctezuma Barragán on Thursday, two days following the initial seizure.
“The government’s participation in this gross violation of our property rights is yet another example of the government’s arbitrary and illegal treatment of Vulcan and its investments in Mexico. This occupation must cease immediately,” he added.
Vulcan has been in tension with Mexico for months after Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador forced a shutdown of the quarry’s operations in May 2022. Lopez Obrador accused the company of trying to extract minerals from Mexico without the required permits and ship them to the U.S.
With information from Forbes Mexico