The Five Most Important Mining States in Mexico
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The Five Most Important Mining States in Mexico

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Karin Dilge By Karin Dilge | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Fri, 08/26/2022 - 12:16

In 2021, the states of Sonora, Chihuahua, Zacatecas, Durango and Guerrero continued to be Mexico’s leading states in the mining industry. 

According to a report by the Mexican Mining Chamber (CAMIMEX), these five entities headed the value of metallurgical mining production with an 83.8 percent contribution. The state of Sonora occupies first place with 33.3 percent, followed by Zacatecas with 20.1 percent, Chihuahua with 16.4 percent, Durango with 9.5 percent and Guerrero with 4.7 percent.

In terms of GDP, the mining and metallurgy sector represented 8.6 percent of Mexico’s industrial GDP and 2.5 percent of the national GDP in 2021, with Sonora leading the contributions. In addition, the report showed that tax payments by the industry summed up to MX$64.1 billion (US$3.2 billion) for that year. 

Furthermore, CAMIMEX pointed out that the industry created around 40,000 new direct jobs, reaching a total of 406,179 jobs in 2021. The number represents a 10.4 percent increase in comparison to the previous year.


Sonora stands out as Mexico’s top producer of copper and gold. Although other states are edging closer, Sonora is still very much ahead in copper, producing over 80 percent of the total national output. Copper is therefore a major factor in Sonora maintaining its leading position in the sector.

More than 100,000 jobs in Sonora’s mining sector pay over 40 percent of the average salary. In total, 22 municipalities have mining as their main economic driver. The state boasts 71 active mining units, which means Sonora maintains the highest amount of ongoing mining operations in the country. Big companies like Grupo México hold their biggest assets in Sonora and are looking to invest more in the state.


Zacatecas is the second-largest mining entity in the country. In addition, it occupies first place in silver, zinc and lead production. Moreover, the mining industry is the source of more than 90,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Fresnillo, one of the biggest mining companies in the country, has its main assets in Zacatecas and is planning on increasing production there. Recently, Fresnillo and its partner MAG Silver concluded the construction of the Juanicipio gold-silver project with a US$440 million CAPEX. The companies expect to produce 11.7Moz/y of silver and 43,500oz/y of gold.


Chihuahua is a state with a 450-year mining history. Therefore, it is traditionally considered to be a true mining entity. Its territory holds important reserves of gold, silver, lead, copper and zinc, according to CAMIMEX. Chihuahua’s mining industry holds 12.7 percent of the national metals-focused mining industry. Mining activity furthermore represents 4 percent of the state’s GDP.


The mining industry in the state of Durango created 13,600 direct jobs and 68,000 indirect jobs and has annual economic spending of around MX$22 billion (US$1.09 billion). Durango is therefore the fourth-most important mining state in Mexico.

According to the Association of Metallurgical Mining Engineers and Geologists of Mexico (AIMMGM), the state is the second-largest producer of zinc. It also ranks third in the production of silver, fifth in gold and seventh in copper. Durango has 23 mines in production in 17 municipalities. Five of them rank among the Top 10 with the highest production of metallic minerals, out of a total of 240 in the country.


During the past decade, mining has become one of the most important industries for Guerrero despite it having only six mines in operation and five exploration projects. According to the Guerrero Mining Cluster, mining has grown an average of 14.3 percent per year, going from 18th to 9th place regarding its contribution to the state's GDP.

According to Enrique Margalef, President, the Guerrero Mining Cluster, Guerrero could become a major mining state because it is part of the 60 percent of Mexico’s territory that is suited for mining operations.

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