Continue Worthy Federal InitiativesMon, 10/22/2018 - 09:30
Q: What have been the Ministry of Economy’s main achievements during the 2012-2018 sexennial?
A: Mining was included for the first time as a strategic sector in the National Development Plan 2013-2018 because of its contribution to economic growth. Accordingly, in 2016 the General Coordination for Mining became the Undersecretariat of Mining, increasing its importance nationally and raising the level of dialogue with similar authorities in other countries.
As part of the financial reform put forward by President Peña Nieto, in 2013, Congress approved new duties from mining, which included the 7.5 percent special right on concessionable mining EBITDA and the 0.5 percent extraordinary right on sales of silver, gold and platinum. The resulting revenue has been mainly oriented to the Mining Fund for Regional Sustainable Development of Mining States and Municipalities, which are allocated to the communities where the mining activity takes place. The money is allocated to social and infrastructure development projects for the good of the communities affected by the mining activities. The Fund has raised people’s standard of living while reducing the incidence of conflict in the sector.
In terms of geological information generation, the Mexican Geological Service has carried out important work. It has mapped an accumulated area of 866,802km2 as of July 2018, which is equivalent to 63 percent of the surface area of the Mexican territory that is estimated to contain mining potential.
Regarding financing, FIFOMI defined new financing strategies and access to credit for companies in the mining sector and its value chain. As of August 2018, there is a credit portfolio balance of MX$3.66 billion, which represents an 8.4 percent increase on the balance registered as of December 2012.
Considering the importance of information technologies, we began to modernize the systems related to mining procedures; we are in the process of streamlining 42 procedures, making mining data consultation easier.
At the international level, Mexico has been a key player in mining groups, such as the Pacific Alliance and the Conference of Ministers of Mining of the Americas and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). At the bilateral level, we set up a mining working group with Canada, and memoranda of understanding for mining cooperation were signed with Sweden, Ecuador and China.
Q: What do you think should be the top priorities for the next administration regarding the mining industry?
A: I see three primary priorities for the new government in terms of mining. The first should be the continuation and conclusion of the process of modernization of mining procedures, since it will give greater certainty to investors. Second, the new government could implement the process of prior consultation in indigenous territories, an indispensable measure to consolidate the governance of mineral resources. The Mexican state has the obligation to ratify the agreement on indigenous and tribal peoples in independent countries set out in ILO Convention 169, and to carry out indigenous consultation. Third, the collection and allocation of funds related to the Mining Fund for Regional Sustainable Development of Mining States and Municipalities could be improved.
Q: How will the Ministry of Economy collaborate with the new administration to promote the continuation of the work started by the Undersecretary of Mining in 2016?
A: We have already begun the transition, and we are holding several meetings with the incoming administration. In such meetings, we have presented a thorough evaluation of the work done over the course of the last six years and we have made recommendations as to the work we believe can be continued. Certainly, it is down to the new government whether or not it will take our recommendations into account and continue with the programs begun by this administration.