In what has been a decades long battle to ensure that mega-mining never occurs in the Santa Clarita Valley, on Friday, April 24, 2020, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a formal notice to CEMEX regarding the outstanding amount of $6.3 million owed to BLM. This amount is for CEMEX’s first 10-year contract, which expired in July 2010. In addition, BLM is also collecting the $700,000 bid deposit, made by CEMEX, as forfeiture. The deposit and the $6.3 million reflect the full purchase value of the first contract owed to BLM of $7 million.
In the notice from BLM, it indicates that CEMEX has 30 days from receipt to pay the balance of the first 10-year contract. If the full payment owed to BLM is not received within 30 days from the receipt of the notice, BLM will submit the unpaid bill to the United States Department of the Treasury as an outstanding debt owed to the federal government.
“The fact that the Bureau of Land Management is noticing CEMEX to get the money owed, is just another sign that we are nearing the end of this saga,” said Councilmember and CEMEX City Council Ad Hoc Committee member Bob Kellar. “Time is quickly running out on the second contract, which is set to expire in July of this year. We look forward to the day when we can officially announce that the contracts are expired.”
Consistent with the terms of the second contract – BLM concludes that CEMEX is required to pay the balance of the purchase price no later than 60 days prior to the expiration of the contract. As a result, CEMEX is required to pay BLM $21,080,000 by June 1, 2020, for that second contract.
This latest development comes after a pair of decisions in December 2019, in which BLM stated for each of the two mining contracts no actual production had occurred and no annual payments in lieu of production were made, and therefore annual in lieu of production payments were due.
“The Santa Clarita Valley is home to many points of historical interest, plant and animal species and precious natural resources,” said Councilmember and CEMEX City Council Ad Hoc Committee member, Laurene Weste. “As a City Council, and as a community, we have long-stood firm that mega-mining will never happen in our valley. I want to thank all of the elected officials, organizations and residents who have stood by us over the years. Although the end is in sight – we will remain vigilant.”
This recent development is the latest in what has been nearly a 25-year-long battle over mining rights in Soledad Canyon. The city of Santa Clarita has been fighting to prevent mining in Soledad Canyon since the CEMEX contracts were issued by the federal government in 1990. The CEMEX contracts would have allowed for the mining of 56 million tons of sand and gravel from Soledad Canyon, which would have added up to 1,164 truck trips a day to local roads and freeways. This would have caused air quality issues and potential negative impacts to the Santa Clara River, the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, and wildlife corridors connecting the Angeles National Forest, as well as fish, wildlife and plants in the area.
The city of Santa Clarita would like to thank all of our partners who fought and continue to fight to protect our community from mega-mining.