To lessen the impact of rising fuel costs, mining companies in Mexico are set to invest significantly more in electric power, including in solar and hydroelectric energy. In addition, experts believe that the Mexican mining sector could make more progress in mitigating its environmental impact if the government supported more clean energy projects and private investment.
The Mexican Mining Chamber (CAMIMEX) reported that Mexico’s highest level of investment for clean energy will be reached in 2022, reaching US$51.3 million. In 2021, the sector invested US$236.3 million in environmental efforts and US$36.5 million in clean energy. Experts highlighted that the increase in investment is not due to the improvement of political certainty but to the weakening of the COVID-19 pandemic.
CAMIMEX reported that the environmental efforts of the sector were greatly hampered by the pandemic. Between 2014 and 2018, the Mexican mining sector invested between US$10.5 million and US$20 million. However, in 2020, only US$1.3 million was invested in environmental programs.
Another challenge has been the government’s continuous altering of the Electricity Industry and Mining laws, as well as the interruption of permits granted by the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). CAMIMEX stressed that since mining is the fourth-largest industrial energy consumer, representing 50 percent of the sector’s expenses, permits and energy competitive prices are paramount.
“It is necessary to safeguard competition and grant certainty to private sector investments in the electricity market. Only in this way can affordable and cleaner energy be generated. Considering that overall, two-thirds of CFE’s electricity comes from fossil fuels and that relying on hydroelectric power production is almost impossible due to the country's water shortage, we will need clean energy to facilitate our energy transition,” said CAMIMEX
CAMIMEX told MBN that even though the mining industry has been accused of polluting, neglecting and worsening the quality of life of nearby communities by the government, it is one of the most regulated activities in the country. To operate, mining companies must have an environmental operating license, an operating certificate, authorization in terms of impact and change in land use and comply with Mexican specifications and standards. Consequently, CAMIMEX has once again called to foster a better relationship between the private and public sectors.