Mining Production in Mexico IncreasesBy Karin Dilge | Tue, 04/05/2022 - 11:04
Boosted by a rise in sulfur, zinc and lead production, Mexico’s mining production grew 2.5 percent in Mexico during January 2022, showing promising new developments in various states despite the challenges posed by the legal uncertainty in the sector.
According to INEGI, the country produced 30,250 tons of sulfur, 57.7 percent more than in January 2021. In the first month of 2022, companies produced 30,156 tons of zinc and 14,176 tons of lead, representing respective increases of 19.2 and 9.8 percent. In addition, precious metals production increased by 5.3 percent. In the case of gold, production rose up to 252,526.3oz, while silver grew 2.5 percent to 11.79Moz. Meanwhile, iron pellet production grew 6.4 percent, reaching 526,337 tons, as non-coking coal rose 2.7 percent to 363,685 tons.
Contrastingly, copper production decreased 1.8 percent down to 38,560 tons, fluorite declined 3.1 percent to 80,796 tons, plaster fell 4.2 percent to 505,835 tons and petroleum coke diminished 34.5 percent to 36,183 tons.
In general, mining production grew 5.3 percent in 2021, after operations were halted for two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mexico is the main producer of silver and the No. 1 gold hub in Latin America. It is also among the Top 10 producers of copper, zinc and lead.
Many states in Mexico, such as Guerrero, Zacatecas and the State of Mexico, are becoming relevant for the mining industry due to their potential in mining exploration. In the State of Mexico there are 760 locations of interest, which have raised local expectations to produce 28 different types of minerals with a strong growth forecast. In Guerrero, Torex Gold is planning to develop its El Limón-Guajes mine and the adjacent Media Luna project. “In 2022, we aim to drill between 64,000 and 65,000m at a cost of US$19 million. This would allow us to create a plan for our existing resources while adding to our reserves,” said Jody Kuzenko, President and CEO, Torex Gold, in an interview.
Additionally, the company Zacatecas Silver recently announced that SEMARNAT approved 27 drilling permits for its Panuco North Vein, with which the company will drill and test the entire northern system. So far, the company has drilled 7,420m at its Panuco deposit, of which 4,707m has been drilled at the North Vein where high-grade silver mineralization has been identified both near the surface and at depth.
Many other companies with significant presence in Mexico are planning a year full of dynamic exploration programs, with the purpose of increasing reserves and developing projects in a favorable environment for metal prices. Ten of the main gold and silver producers set budgets of around US$377 million, according to BNamericas. The companies with the biggest exploration spending in Mexico for 2022 are First Majestic Silver, Fresnillo, Pan American Silver, Torex Gold and Agnico Eagle.
In 2021, Mexico attracted US$600 million in mining exploration investment, ranking first in Latin America and fourth worldwide. According to the Chilean Copper Commission, of all investment in exploration in the region, Mexico captured 23 percent. The country is followed by Chile with 21 percent, Peru with 16 percent, Brazil with 11 percent and Argentina with 8 percent.