Manuel Reyes Cortés
View from the Top

Leading Mining Association Through Education and Exposure,

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 12:03

Q: You became the president of AIMMGM in 2014. What will be the association’s priorities under your administration until 2016?

A: One of the pillars of our campaign was the pledge to strengthen our members’ academic level. This will be achieved through geoscientific and geoengineering courses as well as capacity building conferences imparted by a staff of highly educated lecturers with many years of experience in the industry. To increase their reach, we will offer these courses directly on mine sites and mine camps where mining professionals reside. These courses will be certified at an institutional level, which will allow participants to receive diplomas upon successfully completing the assignments. I first implemented this initiative during my time as the president of the Chihuahua chapter of AIMMGM. I also fought to get a building constructed where the staff of the AIMMGM Chihuahua chapter could meet and work. Unfortunately, due to the large quantity of districts under AIMMGM supervision, not all of our members can meet in a proper building designated for the association. This is why we are seeking federal funds to finance the construction of buildings or meeting spaces for our districts. This effort is the second pillar of our campaign. Our third pillar is the strengthening of the operation of our districts and increasing their membership roster. Many of our districts have not received attention, which has led local members to lose interest in the association. We want to attract more members to these districts to make them stronger and more energized. For example, the district of Sombrerete in Zacatecas went from having 90 members at its peak to just four. As AIMMGM requires every district office to have a minimum of 11 members, the Sombrerete office had to be closed. We are now working to get the Sombrerete, Magdalena, and Parral AIMMGM districts reactivated, since these are all historically important mining districts.

Another focus will be on the mining royalty and tax. We believe that lowering taxes for exploration will lead to the discovery of larger reserves and will guarantee the future of mining in Mexico. If taxes are raised, exploration companies will leave Mexico, which will endanger the continuity of the mining industry in our country. Our fourth pillar is thus to maximize the impact of our most important mining conference, Expominas México, which takes place in Acapulco. This conference represents a great opportunity to bring together national and international mining leaders as well as the leading figures of governmental entities that regulate the sector. We will create forums and panel discussions to find innovative ways to energize the sector.

Q: You were involved in the planning of the International Mining Conference of Chihuahua. What was the initial vision for this conference, and how has it evolved?

A: When we started that conference 20 years ago, it was originally named the Chihuahua Mining Conference and was part of the activities of the AIMMGM Chihuahua chapter, which was made up of only 20 members back then. It now stands at 250 members, ranging from engineers in charge of the mines to managers and landowners. As part of the CANACO (National Chamber of Commerce), the chapter also acquired business partners with which we share services and production management. 2014 marked the tenth International Mining Conference of Chihuahua, which saw over 3,000 attendees and 325 companies with 270 booths, presenting the latest equipment and machinery for exploration, exploitation and mineral processing.

Q: Other than the efforts of mining associations and companies, to what would you attribute the progress and advancements of the Mexican mining industry?

A: Mexico began to establish its geology and mining techniques in 1525. We have great traditions that have been passed down through generations. Mining states like Hidalgo, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, and Chihuahua have a long mining history and have inherited important mining techniques. Our success comes from the combination of a long mining history and improved legislation. Additionally, all mining schools in Mexico are educating young mining engineers and geologists eager to learn about the industry, and experienced technicians to teach them. This has allowed Mexico to advance much faster than other Latin American countries on the mining front. The mining industry is facing difficult challenges due to the decrease in metal prices, but while these might dim the success of AIMMGM and the Mexican mining industry, it does not relieve us of our hopes.