Mexico imposes fine on Chinese-funded mall project slammed by environmentalists

MEXICO CITY (AFP) - Mexican authorities have imposed a half million dollar fine on a Chinese-funded shopping mall project near the Caribbean resort city of Cancun that has come under fire from environmentalists.

The US$538,570 fine (S$670,760) is due to a lack of authorisations on the environmental impact of the undertaking, officials said in a statement Thursday.

The US$180 million "Dragon Mart" project is financed by the Chinese company Chinamex.

The project has been criticised by environmentalists because 418 hectares out of the total 557 hectares on which the mall is to be built is located on land designated as a nature reserve.

The company was cited specifically for building two paths through wetlands without the necessary paperwork and for the project's impact on coastal ecosystems.

The project stalled initially after authorities refused to issue a construction permit but got going after several rounds of legal appeals.