Image credits: ThisisEngineering RAEng
News Article

Mining Uses Less Water Than Agriculture in Sonora: Agnico Eagle

By Fernando Mares | Thu, 05/19/2022 - 16:26

Luis Medina, Vice President, Agnico Eagle Mexico, said that mining uses just a fraction of the water that industries like livestock or agriculture in Sonora. During the seminar, “Future of Mining Investment in Mexico,” Medina highlighted the role of mining against these and other industries in the state.


According to Medina, there are over 4,000 existing mining concessions in Sonora, which represent 30 percent of the state’s land. Currently, however, projects in development use barely 0.1 percent of the land. Similarly, he said that contrary to what the “no-mining” narrative says, the sector uses just 2 percent of the state’s hydric resources, mainly because of the presence of three of the largest miners in the world present in the state. Industries like agriculture and livestock consume over 38 and 22 percent of the state water, while 22 percent is used for human consumption and 10 percent for other industries. 


Regarding the use of land, Leonardo Padilla, Sonora’s General Director for Mining, added that 83 percent of the land is used for livestock, 11 percent for agriculture, 4 percent for industry and 0.2 percent for aquaculture. 


Water availability and indigenous consultations are among the main challenges mining companies face. Yet, adequate consultation and communication with surrounding communities can determine the success or failure of a mining project, which is why cooperation between mining companies and the government is key. 

Sonora Governor Alfonso Durazo recently announced an investment of over US$35 million together with Grupo Mexico to handle water infrastructure upgrades at the Cananea and Nazcozari mines. “The investment will be made with the support of Grupo México to guarantee a sufficient supply of drinking water in these communities,” said Durazo. “This will allow us to restore the water distribution system and supply the wells, as well as having all the equipment to make the water drinkable and to upgrade the distribution network.” 


During the seminar, Rafael Jabalera, General Director of Mining Development, Ministry of Economy, said that his office will be responsible for indigenous consultations to determine if a project is feasible or not. He added that his office is working on the legislation to make consultations possible and that the Ministry has already a protocol that will work for both indigenous consultation and concessions. 


According to Juan Gudiño, Director, Igual Consultores, indigenous consultations are here to stay, but regulations still need to be clear about what a consultation is, as well as its scope. “Companies must know their role in the consultation process and work together with authorities to participate in the negotiation process,” he said.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
El Economista, MBN
Fernando Mares Fernando Mares Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst