Raúl Cruz
Director General of SGM
View from the Top

Looking Back on a Six-Year Achievement

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 14:23

Q: What were SGM’s most important advances during the last six years?
A: Thanks to the hard work of our valuable personnel and the invaluable support of both the Ministry of Economy and the Undersecretary of Mining, during the current administration, significant progress was made in SGM’s institutional activities. We achieved upward growth in the fulfillment of our goals and objectives. There are a few successes worth mentioning.
First, through the promotion of strategic sectors outlined in the National Development Plan 2013-2018, SGM generated a cartography specialized in geology, mapping, mining, geochemistry, geophysics and mineral resources of the country. As of June 2018, we have mapped 861,234km2, equivalent to 62.6 percent of the national territory with mining potential.
Support and advice were provided to 336 primarily small and medium scale mining projects, as well as large mines through exploration services. We used latest-generation technology, allowing us to identify with greater certainty minerals associated with economically-feasible deposits. In some cases, we applied hyperspectral technology, which consists of an overhead technique that measures the energy from the sun reflected on the surface of the terrain. This allows the identification of alteration minerals on the earth’s surface that are the product of hydrothermal solutions and physical-chemical processes, indicative of possible deposits of minerals at depth.
SGM integrated 24 mining investments into its portfolio that included metallic minerals deposits such as gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, molybdenum and tungsten. Of the assessed Mining Assignments, SGM withdrew its rights from the Ministry of the Economy and 10 mining investment projects were proposed for competitive bidding through a public process.
As for other activities, SGM developed the Natural Disaster Risk Atlas for six municipalities in Hidalgo, as well as the State Atlas of Yucatan, benefiting approximately 4 million inhabitants, whose authorities now have an instrument for consultation and guidance to protect the population from natural events that could cause damage to their health and property.
In terms of exploration for radioactive minerals, anomalous radiometric responses, hydrothermal alterations, geophysical responses and geological conditions to identify and locate uranium minerals were checked and analyzed. This broadened existing research by 17 percent compared to November 2012. It expands the exploration to the states of Durango and Oaxaca, which has allowed an increase in the reserves of resources by more than 120 percent in the same period.
The Gas Associated with Coal Deposits project was formally concluded and, in compliance with the amendments to the Hydrocarbons and Mining Laws, information on the geological potential of the areas studied in the northern states of the country was given to CNH. Simultaneously, a cooperation agreement was confirmed that will allow SGM access to information related to hydrocarbons and to participate in joint geological exploration.
SGM was rated as one of the top 10 agencies of the Federal Public Administration. In 2016, it took eighth position among 270 agencies and in 2017 it ranked second. SGM revenues went from a deficit of MX$70 million in 2012 to a surplus of MX$254 million in 2017, which exceeds the MX$212 million of fiscal resources received as support in the budget.
SGM, has broadened the scope of the 1:50,000 scale geological mapping in Mexican states such as Veracruz, Oaxaca and others in Southeast Mexico. These states so far have not attracted a great deal of mining activity but they have great potential.
Q: What are the areas of opportunity and how does SGM plan to face these?
A: We consider it necessary to revise the current regulations governing the functions of SGM, and we estimate that some of them need to be updated, others adapted and expanded, to allow SGM greater flexibility and efficiency in its operations. This would improve services and products generated for Mexican society. Fortunately, there are several ideas and projects that are technologically-supported, such as geo hydrological issues, energy, geological and environmental risks, geology in applied research and Geoparks studies, to name a few.
Q: How can SGM improve the application of geological knowledge in the mining sector?
A: Although mining companies have already expressed that the information generated by SGM is of tremendous value to them, the institution will continue to spread the advantages of using geological cartography and aerial and terrestrial geophysical methods as a spearhead for exploration of new deposits. For this reason, the advances and achievements in important mineral deposits discovered during the current administration, which have an extraordinary value, will be announced. These include the Campanillas and Caña de Oro assignments in Sinaloa, as well as Las Granadas (Natalia) in the State of Mexico, which are just some examples of the application of geological knowledge to generate projects with the expectation of becoming medium term mining operations.
Q: How does SGM seek to facilitate investment in exploration in Mexico?
A: We will continue to improve our technological services and products, expanding territorial coverage in prospecting and geological exploration. We will also diversify in terms of minerals and resources facing increasing demand in national and international markets, such as rare earth elements, lithium, and non-associated gas. Among the mineral and energy resources that experience greatest demand today are copper, gold, silver, aluminum, zinc, antimony, bismuth, cadmium, lead, chrome, nickel, platinum, gallium, cobalt, nickel, titanium, lithium, iron, coal, molybdenum, tungsten, manganese, rare earths, uranium and natural gas. We expect this trend to continue in the medium to long terms.
Additionally, we will continue to offer support for the management of environmental protection procedures with baseline studies and technology to explore with indirect methods of exploration such as airborne and terrestrial geophysics, hyperspectral images, regional magnetometry and high-resolution helicopter that also incorporates radiometry in the uranium, thorium and potassium channels.
We have encouraged dialogue of our technical teams with community authorities, trying to explain that the geological knowledge of their territories is not only useful for mining. In the case of Chiapas, SGM has been promoting the incorporation of the Tacaná Volcano Region Geopark into the UNESCO World Geoparks Network. The process is in final evaluation with UNESCO at its Paris, France headquarters. Recently we were pleased to receive two expert evaluators from the organization that were very satisfied with the geosites identified and described by SGM.
Q: What should the next administration prioritize in terms of geology and exploration in the country?
A: Under the current administration, we have attempted to give direction to the institution. It will be up to a new body to assume the responsibility for technical evaluation of our successes and shortcomings. We are sure this will be assessed from an objective and impartial perspective, with full understanding of the powers conferred on SGM by the law and bearing in mind the present and future importance of the mineral, energy and natural resources that the country is demanding. For our part, we are confident we have accomplished our goals and carried out our responsibilities.
For our part, in July this year, SGM was awarded the National Quality Prize in the Large Organization category by the federal government. This comprises the highest distinction attesting to the commitment and dedication of the institution as a national reference in competitivity and sustainability.
Q: What is SGM’s next step in the mining agenda?
A: In the current SGM administration, we have many plans and projects, which we trust will be seriously considered by the new administration. Among our aspirations are inclusion of SGM in Great Place to Work and application for the Ibero-American Quality Award 2019. We want to ensure SGM’s technological infrastructure is kept up to date and strengthened alongside our employees’ skills and knowledge base.
Land was donated to SGM by the city of Pachuca in the state of Hidalgo so we would like to see the continued development of the research regarding this area. This could be one step toward the agency increasing its own income and eventually achieving budgetary self-sufficiency. I believe the organizational structure of the agency should be adapted for optimal operation to reflect our commitment to generating Mexico’s geological database and contribute to the attraction of FDI and the sustainable use of natural resources, thus contributing to national development. We want to reinforce the brand positioning SGM nationally and internationally, perhaps through collaboration with other international organizations.