CAMIMEX Warns About Permit DelaysBy Antonio Trujillo | Thu, 09/09/2021 - 10:19
The Mexican Mining Chamber (CAMIMEX) has warned that mining companies could face “major delays” as environmental and water permits are slowly being delivered by the government. Up to 60 percent of foreign-backed projects find themselves in this category.
CAMIMEX published on Monday its annual Sustainability Report, highlighting the sector companies’ compromise with society and related environmental issues. Through an online video conference, the chamber wants to showcase specific actions undertaken by affiliated companies to propel welfare in related communities, optimize the usage of water and energy, take care of biodiversity, and working conditions among their workers.
Fernando Alanís, CAMIMEX President, said the Mexican mining industry is clear and committed to achieving sustainable development under three basic principles: economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection. “Companies unionized to the chamber have the objective of guaranteeing the safety and wellbeing of collaborators and the communities where they operate. State-of-the-art technology is adopted, sustainable processes are implemented, and large amounts of resources are invested to reduce the impact of our activity,” he added.
Nonetheless, the industry as a whole is seeking to boost operations and continue to uphold mining as one of the country’s key industries, one that will contribute to economic recovery following the pandemic, therefore, issues with the government must be dealt with.
In regards to permit delays, Alanís said these were primarily due to Mexico’s Environmental Ministry SEMARNAT to approve the so-called Environmental Impact Statements for mining projects. “This is definitely an issue,” he said. “With SEMARNAT we have major delays.”
According to data released by CAMIMEX, 18 specific projects, whose investments represent nearly US$2.8 billion, are being held back due to permits that are pending from SEMARNAT. Alanís and Tonatiuh Herrera, SEMARNAT’s Deputy Minister, have met in the past to discuss these issues, and future meetings are already scheduled.
Industry executives have affirmed that layoffs in SEMARNAT and other government dependencies in the last few years, considered part of President López Obrador’s austerity measures at the federal level, are to blame for the delays, since they effectively cut the number of people who can process the permits diligently.
Despite these delays, mining investments with foreign capital, which account for an important share of all mining projects in Mexico, are expected to grow this year, as reported by MBN. Mining in Mexico represents about 2.3 percent of all GDP economic activity, and the country is the world’s leading silver producer, as well as placing in the Top Ten producers for various metals, which include gold, zinc, and copper