Mining Sector Helping Communities to Fight the PandemicBy Alejandro Enríquez | Sat, 07/11/2020 - 13:39
"In the face of the pandemic, our miners have reaffirmed their commitment to the development of our state and country. There are agreements between mining companies with local and federal authorities to resume activities in compliance with health and safety protocols,” said Governor of Coahuila Miguel Ángel Riquelme during the webinar Mining’s New Normal: Reactivating the Industry, organized by Francisco Quiroga, Undersecretary of Mining, and Mexico Business News.
Riquelme participated in the panel “Fraternity In The Face Of The Sanitary Emergency,” in which also participated Sergio González, Minister of Health and Director General of the Health Services of the State of Durango; Carlos de la Peña, Minister of Health of the State of Guerrero; Gilberto Breña, Minister of Health of the State of Zacatecas and Carlos Bárcena, Minister of Economy of the State of Zacatecas.
The panel was moderated by Mauricio Hernández, Director of Economic and Social Benefits at IMSS. Also participating were Rosa Lilia García, Deputy Director general for Innovation and Quality at the Oaxaca State Health Department and Antonio Fermín Ochoa, State Commissioner for Protection Against Health Risks in the State of Colima. "The mining industry represents between 1 and 2 percent of all disabilities related to respiratory diseases, which demonstrates a joint effort to contain and implement health protocols," said Hernández when opening the discussion to the panelists. González acknowledged, however, that despite the protocols, an important area of opportunity remains in the measures observed in the transport of personnel.
De la Peña pointed out the importance of the economic contribution of mining to the state. “In Guerrero, mining has become one of the main industries with an investment of US$1.2 billion already invested and US$1.2 billion programmed for the coming years. The sector generates 61,000 direct and indirect jobs. We are very clear that the economic issue must be coupled with the health of workers through guidelines from the Ministry of Health and IMSS. However, the mining sector is one of the most vulnerable to the pandemic because of lung disease cases that can complicate COVID-19 cases.”
Government representatives of the state of Zacatecas recognized the contribution of the mining sector in fighting the pandemic. “Mining in Zacatecas is ancestral. It is one of the states with 17 mining companies, 14 of them with mines in operation. In hospital infrastructure efforts, eight mining companies have made protective equipment donations. An area of opportunity we have found is the surveillance of personnel who are subcontracted since they do not strictly observe protocols as mining companies do,” said the Secretary of Health. The Minister of Economy of Zacatecas recognized the joint efforts of both mining and automotive sectors to supervise the progress of the pandemic.
Rosa Lilia García pointed out that in Oaxaca, mining companies implemented all the necessary protocols early to reduce contagion. In Colima, according to Ochoa, mining companies have an additional social commitment during the pandemic. The commissioner pointed out the investment of MX$4.68 million (US$208,807) from a mining consortium in infrastructure and sanitary equipment in the state.