Mining: More Than a Primary ActivityBy Alejandro Salas | Wed, 02/12/2020 - 10:33
A year into President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration, Undersecretary of Mining at the Ministry of Economy Francisco Quiroga presented the Undersecretariat’s key lines of action to make mining activities a pillar of Mexico’s economy and a driver for other industrial activities. “Success of mining actitivies should not only be measured by the volume of minerals we produce but by what we can do with those resources,” Quiroga said during the opening presentation of Mexico Mining Forum held on Wednesday at the Sheraton Maria Isabel hotel in Mexico City.
Mining can make a difference in society by focusing on the industry’s competitiveness and the social challenges it faces, Quiroga said. “The goal is social and economic viability in the long term.”
Social issues are at the center of the government’s agenda to make mining a more sustainable industry. “Mining players have to become leading neighbors in their communities,” said Quiroga. “They should not replace the government but should comprehend the needs of their communities and establish a long-term vision that transcends the mine’s life cycle, considering their current and future environmental impact.” Beyond that, Quiroga specified that alliances that foster productivity and operational continuity are a must for mining operations. “Activities should respect the rights of workers and foster an environment that favors the participation of women in the mining workforce,” he said.
In terms of competitiveness, although there is confidence for investment in Mexico, Quiroga says investors should look at the advantages that a community or region offers, instead of focusing on the country as a whole. Otherwise, the perception of investment viability could be clouded, he said. Quiroga also highlighted regulatory stability as a priority for the industry and the goal the government has to streamline its processes at the General Mine Directorate (DGM) to handle everything through a single digital platform. “We want to simplify legal processes at the DGM and link this office with other government regulators,” said Quiroga.
Financing and security are also key issues that the government is tackling. With the former, Quiroga said the goal is to market Mexico as a low-risk investment destination, looking to communicate the country’s compliance with global standards. FIFOMI’s involvement is also crucial in guaranteeing project viability and competitive financing with more flexibility. “Clear communication is also a must with key decision-makers and authorities to open Mexico’s projects to global markets,” explained Quiroga. Regarding security, the government has a clear mandate: “Blackmailing or stealing from the mining sector will not be a profitable business,” he said. “We will establish a quick and effective response to any robbery attempt to make it harder to transport and commercialize stolen goods.”
Lastly, Quiroga turned his attention to the importance of mining activities, not only as a productive industry but as the source of raw materials for other industrial activities. While the Undersecretariat looks to increase production and ensure reliable, sustainable and inclusive production, it is also analyzing the role that this industry plays in sectors like electronics, energy and automotive to introduce best practices and certifications so that competition is not in terms of costs but in terms of added value. “The goal should be to make mining a competitive leverage for other manufacturing industries and for Mexico’s position as a manufacturing powerhouse,” said Quiroga.