“La Ramona” Historic Smelter Smokestack Restoration Project. El Triunfo, Baja California Sur

“La Ramona” Historic Smelter Smokestack Restoration Project. El Triunfo, Baja California Sur

A Cultural & Historical Relic

The “La Ramona” smelter smokestack – located in El Triunfo, Baja California Sur, Mexico—was constructed in the 1890s for El Progreso Mining Company, during a time of extensive industrial growth in Baja California. After decades of unrestricted resource extraction, primarily for metals such as gold and silver, the industry began to decline and “La Ramona” was eventually shut down.

After nearly a century of abandonment, it has suffered significant structural damage due to age, lightning strikes, and hurricanes. This structural instability and potentially hazardous residues from the mining and smelting processes make it a danger to the local El Triunfo community. Additionally, at a looming 47-meters tall, “La Ramona” is an important cultural and historical relic, and a sobering reminder of the impacts of unhindered heavy metal mining on communities and the environment alike. In a region with an abundance of natural resources, this is an important lesson for future generations.

A Multilateral Initiative

The “La Ramona” restoration initiative was started by a group of nonprofit, public, and private-sector partners who believe that the restoration of the smokestack is necessary to mitigate the existing public safety and health risks, and is an important first step in the economic and cultural revival of the community of El Triunfo.

In April 2016, the first critical step in this multilateral initiative was accomplished when an agreement was signed by the ejido of El Triunfo—the legal owners of the property—and the primary nonprofit partner, the Corredor Histórico CAREM, A.C. Other major partners include the International Community Foundation (ICF), the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the Mexican Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), the Reforma Agraria, the State of Baja California Sur, and the Municipality of La Paz, as well as private sector affiliates in El Triunfo.

Now that the agreement is signed, and the restoration designs are complete, the community is ready to get to work! Once the total funds are raised, the partners will complete an environmental study and apply for all necessary permits from the relevant government entities.

Project Objectives

  • Restore the “La Ramona” smokestack to eliminate current hazards to the community’s safety and public health.
  • Protect and preserve an important historical relic for the Baja California Sur community.
  • Drive economic growth and increase alternative tourism in El Triunfo.
  • Raise awareness about the inherent tension between economic development and preservation of Baja California’s rich natural resources and beauty.
  • Catalyze future sponsorships from the Mexican Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH) for archaeological work in the region, potentially leading to the establishment of a heritage park El Triunfo.

Help us get to Work - Matching funds are Available!

After over a year of work, the only obstacle to beginning restoration of “La Ramona” is funding!

The total project budget, including the environmental remediation, is estimated at US$350,000. An anonymous donor has already committed to match up to US$30,000, ensuring that your contribution will make a meaningful impact!

• U.S. Donors/Taxpayers can make a Tax-Deductible Contribution Online at: http://donate.icfdn.org/#npo/la-ramona-carem-subfund, or Mail a Check to the International Community Foundation at: 2505 N Avenue, National City, CA, 91950. Questions? Contact Eliza Brennan at eliza@icfdn.org.

• Mexican Donors/Taxpayers, please contact Andres Contreras at carem.ac@outlook.com to make a Tax-Deductible Contribution to CAREM, A.C. in Mexico.

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