The Texas General Land Office said Friday that it has won an appeal in its case against Cemex in which it’s seeking US$558m in royalties for decades of minerals extraction from McKelligon Canyon, just north of El Paso.
The case, originally brought in 2009, was turned out by a court. But the land office said in a press release that a district appeals court in El Paso ruled in its favor, and sent the case back to the trial court to determine how much Cemex should pay.
Cemex said in an emailed statement that while it can’t comment specifically on ongoing litigation, "we disagree with the ruling as it stands."
Cemex said quarrying operations have been going on at the McKelligon Canyon site since the 1940s, well before the company acquired it in 2005. "Cemex will continue to vigorously defend itself against the State’s claim for royalties," the company added.
The General Land Office said all minerals in Texas belong to the state’s Permanent School Fund. It argued that Cemex and its predecessors hadn’t been authorized to take the minerals, and that state ownership of minerals stretches back to Texas’ independence from Mexico in 1836.