Armando Alatorre Campos

CRIRSCO to Keep Mexico in Lockstep with International Standards

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 17:48

If Mexico wants to regain its international competitiveness as a mining jurisdiction, it needs to follow the path set out by the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards’ (CRIRSCO), says Armando Alatorre, President of the Mexican College of Mining Engineers, Metallurgists and Geologists (CIMMGM).
“We are lagging behind compared to other countries in the region that are already members of CRIRSCO,” he says, adding that Mexican mining professionals’ engineers are as qualified as their foreign counterparts but suffer because they are not certified by international standards.
Joining CRIRSCO would be a game changer for the industry and its members. To start, certification of international professional standards would allow Mexican engineers to sign their mineral reserves reports and have them acknowledged abroad. “We want to boost Mexico to the level of global mining players so our engineers can sign and actively participate alongside foreign engineers,” Alatorre says. “This would imply that our professionals are recognized as Qualified Persons (QP) in other jurisdictions.”
CRIRSCO has 13 members: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the EU, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and the US. For Mexico to put its name on the list, a significant transformation and homologation process must be undertaken. “This would also lead to having a similar reporting system as the National Instrument 43-101,” he says. “Attaining this membership implies a huge workload.”
CIMMGM also offers its own certifications to help make Mexican mining, metallurgy and geology engineers more competitive. Alatorre says that while professional degrees denote the acquisition of certain abilities and knowledge, professionals must eventually acquire specialized skills. “Certification programs have become a basic requirement for all professions. CIMMGM offers five areas of certification: mining, metallurgy, geology, evaluation of mining projects and environmental aspects of mining.”
Alatorre also wants CIMMGM to increasingly act as a communication channel to improve the dialogue between miners and the government. “This is what we are entitled to by law,” he says, explaining that professional academies are founded in the General Law of Professions and are meant to be a consultation organ for the government.
CIMMGM covers four areas: Chihuahua, Zacatecas, Guanajuato and San Luis Potosi, with its headquarters in Mexico City. “These areas existed just on paper for many years but they are now starting to gain traction and act as a medium for us to better communicate with the entire country,” Alatorre says. He expects the growing participation of the different areas to lead to the creation of new areas. “While CIMMGM has been rather passive in the past, we aspire to take a more participatory role and to increasingly collaborate with the authorities regarding what is going on in the industry.”
Alatorre says the state of the industry is changing, with more women becoming involved in the sector. “Mining will have more gender equality. As more women start to study mining sciences, they will take greater ownership and have an increasingly active role.” He also encourages women to join CIMMGM. “We must work together, regardless of gender, to inspire the next generation to be more involved in this profession,” he says.
How many projects are in exploration and how developing projects are doing will also define how the industry will continue to perform, Alatorre adds. “Sonora, Zacatecas and Chihuahua have good inertia. Guerrero is awakening its gold belt but there are still many social issues that are slowing down projects in the state. It is likely to be the next big mining region but getting there is onerous.” Sinaloa remains in second place, Alatorre says, but he adds that the state still needs a new world-class project to catch the industry’s attention.