Mexican Mining Industry Essential Against COVID-19By Isabel Adame | Sun, 04/12/2020 - 12:54
On April 2, Mexico’s government ratified its decree to suspend all non-essential activities for a month — including mining. However, as Reuters and some state governors pointed out, the decree is up for interpretation. Each individual company is taking its own approach to complying with the government’s instructions.
The decree’s failure to clearly define which activities are essential to the Mexican economy sparked an industry-wide conversation. Miners have taken to the podium to communicate the reasons why mining is, in fact, essential, and consequently, the reasons why public policies that support the industry’s development should be fostered.
An outstanding example is Orbia, a fluorite producer, who disclosed information regarding its two main clients, Cicla and Glaxo. The latter companies urged Orbia to continue productive activities at its mine in San Luis Potosi, as fluorite is essential for manufacturing the most popular asthma inhalers in the world. Orbia’s mine has 20 percent of the global fluorite reservoirs. Furthermore, it is the only producer that fulfills the quality standards that US and UK processing plants require. COVID-19 has increased demand for inhalers, which can only be met if Orbia’s activities in Mexico continue unhindered.
Through their respective Conflict Minerals Disclosure, several major medical devices producers in the world list Mexico as a supplier. This is especially relevant given the current situation, where hospitals are engaged in a life-or-death scramble for getting more ventilators for breathing support. Swamped with backorders, there has even been an appeal to manufacturers with no experience in making medical equipment to join the effort to build ventilators. All these manufacturers require specialized parts and hard-to-procure minerals and metals. The Mexican mining industry is crucial for meeting their demand.