Alfredo Villegas
Director of Mines
Ministry of Economy of Sinaloa
View from the Top

Attracting Investment into Mexico's Golden Triangle

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 15:47

Q: What are the performance bellwethers for Sinaloa’s mining sector and what perks do investors receive when investing in the state?
A: We have experienced a positive business environment in the state over the last few years, which has contributed to higher foreign investment in the state. The Ministry of Economy of Sinaloa promotes several mining events, including Discoveries Mazatlán or AIMGMM meetings, that contribute to enhancing investor confidence in Sinaloa.
To remain a competitive mining state, we must communicate Sinaloa’s mineral potential. The golden triangle perfectly illustrates our mineral value. We must also provide investors with investment guarantees to maintain their trust and confidence when investing here. This confidence does not rely on one factor but on a series of factors that gradually sensitize people to our state’s offer.
Regarding the industry’s demands, miners need local governments to take a stand on the policies that are impacting them the most, such as concessions, taxes and the Mining Trust Fund. We also want to assure investors that we are not planning to implement any additional taxes in our jurisdiction. Furthermore, the state can help miners with processes, such as obtaining explosives permits.
Q: What steps are being taken to boost the Sinaloa mining sector’s value proposition and the impact it has on the state’s development?
A: We are the first point of contact for investors looking at our state. We try to have direct communication with them to make sure we can be as useful as possible. For example, we worked closely with the China’s Minera Mahakala to establish its Nocoripa mine. We also contribute to educating local communities about the economic benefits that the mining industry unleashes. One success story is the integration of Mako Mining’s Trinidad mine into the communities surrounding the Rosario municipality. People even wear the company’s t-shirts in support of its operation.  
As a local government, we have also worked with AIMGMM and mine operators to help communities during contingencies. For example, in 2018, strong rains affected Rosario and we worked together to collect donations to help the community. This reassured the community that the mining sector is also there to support them when needed.
Another initiative is our plan to gather informal miners and gambusinos under a cooperative to formalize their activities. While this initiative is fairly new, our goal is to help them legalize their production. So far, this program has had a positive impact on the San Ignacio municipality and among those people who were not very familiar with the mining industry.
Q: What impact does the Department of Mines wish to have on the industry and what is its plan to accomplish its goals?
A: We have a great deal of work to do. Our goal is to be the first state to have a shared processing plant for junior miners, which will most likely be a floatation plant. We will create a junior mining mapping analysis in our state to decide where this plant should be located as it would significantly lower costs for junior miners. While there are some private plants already doing something similar, we plan to charge a marginal cost per ton so it is more affordable. This goes hand in hand with our project to offer shared laboratories to complement the shared processing plant.
These two initiatives are supported by the creation of the Sinaloa Mining Cluster in 2019, which aims to strengthen the local value chain. We also want to replicate the geology academic degree that was first implemented at IPN in Zacatecas. We want to boost Sinaloa’s mining performance through laboratories, plants and clusters. We want to encourage investors to look at us when seeking to invest in Mexico and we will ensure an appropriate business environment.