New Sustainability Paradigm for Mining Activities
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New Sustainability Paradigm for Mining Activities

Photo by:   Tyna Janoch
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Karin Dilge By Karin Dilge | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Tue, 05/03/2022 - 13:56

Mexico’s government has outlined a new paradigm of mining activity in Mexico. The program seeks to take global best practices in the mining industry and apply them in the Mexican environment, focusing mainly on sustainability.  

As part of the public policies proposed by the president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the federal public administration is promoting a new initiative to enhance the performance of mining activities in Mexico. This new model looks to boost a set of good practices in line with the existing legal framework. By implementing the new paradigm, the government hopes to reduce mining’s environmental impact to a minimum, as well as to grow respect and communication between companies and surrounding communities.

The new project was published in a document called Good Practices for Water Use in the mining industry in Mexico, made by environmental ministry SEMARNAT and the Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA).

María Luisa Albores, Minister of Environment, said that the ministry encourages Mexico’s mining industry to accelerate the adoption of better practices regarding water use and social-environmental responsibility. Albores added that the project needs to be implemented through a joint effort between the government, the private sector and civil society in the next few years.

Adrián Pedroza Acuña, General Director, IMTA, added that the initiative stands for an opportunity to build a new relationship between the private sector, the government and Mexican citizens, with the aim to reduce the risk of water conflicts caused by mining activity.

Some of the elements incorporated in the document are best practices taken from the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM), the International Cyanide Management (ICM), the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the Argentinian Center of International Studies (CAEI) and the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Mexican regulation was also considered in the new framework.

Mining activities in Mexico contribute 8.2 percent to the industrial Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 2.4 percent to the national GDP. Nevertheless, it incurs social and environmental costs wherever it takes place, reads the document. To better measure mining’s impact and use this information as a basis to make operations more sustainable, the document proposes metrics to apply to projects. The outlined best practices are non-binding, but should appeal to any company that wishes to operate sustainably, argues SEMARNAT.

Photo by:   Tyna Janoch

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