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News Article

Mining Law Reform Should Go Beyond Lithium: Napoleón Gómez

By Fernando Mares | Thu, 07/14/2022 - 15:34

Napoleón Gómez, President, the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Allied Workers of the Mexican Republic, considers the recent reform to the Mining Law vital for the progress of Mexico, since it ensures the lithium production chain in the state’s hands. Gómez looks further, however: he argues to push the reforms beyond lithium and incorporate greater privileges for mining workers.

Gómez has made himself known as a critic of mining companies. During the 42nd National Meeting of the Miners Union, he expressed anger that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the fortunes of the richest men in Mexico increased. He also led strikes, like the recent protests at ArcelorMittal facilities, where he represented workers at the negotiation table. 

In an interview with El Heraldo Medial Group, Gómez looked back on the work he has done and considered it positive for the Union. He added that during his leadership, the organization grew stronger, which has been translated to better salaries for mining workers. 

Gómez’s perception of the industry is negative, as he considers it to harm the environment, the health of communities and to operate irregularly. He said to counterbalance this issue, he will send a proposal to Congress in his function as a Senator of the Republic. According to him, the Mining Law requires an integral reform that goes beyond lithium. Therefore, Goméz’s proposal will ask for companies to take responsibility for their actions, as well as to respect worker rights, the rule of law and the environment. He did not give further details, but he said he will reveal his proposal soon.

The Mining Law reform has created uncertainty in the industry since companies are worried about the ambiguous manner the law refers to lithium and “other strategic minerals,” as well as the future of granted concessions. 

Various political analysts believe that if Mexico’s next president comes from ruling party MORENA, this person would be a more moderate president than López Obrador and have a more open stance toward mining. If an opposition leader is elected, this president is expected to reform the Mining Law for the sixth time, likely to favor private companies, too.  

Numerous industry experts defend the mining industry, arguing that the sectors complies with standards and regulations that other industries do not consider. In an interview with MBN, Ruben Cano, Founding Partner, CR Legal Partners Mexico, said that the mining sector is responsible and will always comply with any legislation. Nevertheless, it will always be beneficial for the industry if the legal framework provides certainty, is transparent, reliable and fair for the benefit of all. “Today more than ever, we must demonstrate that, as always, the mining industry is highly responsible,” Cano added.
 

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
El Heraldo de Mexico, MBN
Photo by:   Pixel 2013
Fernando Mares Fernando Mares Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst