Mining In Mexico
Mexico, a country with a mining history which straddles almost 500 years and weighs amongst the world’s largest metal producers. It represents a major mineral exploration ground.
Situated between the United States to the north and Guatemala and Belize to the south, Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world. Mexico, which covers an area of 1.97 million square kilometers, boasts a population of 108 million. The coastline stretches 9,300 kilometers with the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez to the west. Although best known for its production of silver—over 10 billion ounces have been produced to date—the country also mines significant quantities of copper, gold, lead and zinc.
In 1993, the extremely significant NAFTA agreement (North American Free Trade Agreement) was signed by Mexico, Canada & the United States resulting in an explosion of investment in Mexico. The mining industry was one of the big recipients of this foreign investment. Since 2002, the improvement in metal prices has also helped to further increase the investment in mining in Mexico.
As a result of the favourable geological environment, supportive mining regulations, and current metal prices, Mexico has received a substantial percentage of the worldwide investment in mining.
Mexico's mining output has reached levels never seen before; its gold production in 2010 was 2.7% of world production, while silver was 19%, and copper was 2% of total world production.
Growth continues with the latest statistics from the Secretaria de Economia showing that in 2009, a total of 279 mining companies with direct foreign investment were working on 718 projects. Of these companies, 209 had their central offices in Canada; 42 in the United States; 7 in Australia; 6 in the United Kingdom; 4 in Japan; 2 each in China and North Korea; and 1 each in Chile, Luxemburg, India, Peru, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands.
Mines are often the key economic engine of many Mexican communities. Today's modern mining companies tend to work closely with their local communities to develop economic programs and projects to bring more than just the direct employment from the mine. By voluntarily participating in a community, mining companies and other local stakeholders (local government, educational institutions, other businesses and farmers) can work together to ensure that the local population, including the poorest segments, can benefit from the presence of new investments and share in the growth potential of the local economy.
During the years 2010-2012 the mining industry is expected to invest US$13.8 billion in Mexico, which combined with previous investment dating back to 2007, the mining industry will have invested US$21.75 billion by the end of 2012; an incredible and historic amount for this sector of the Mexican economy.