Marko Cortés, President of Mexico’s main opposition party PAN, said the party aims to restore the Mining Fund during the public discussion regarding the Federal Expenditure Budget of 2023. In the past, the Fund aimed to benefit mining communities, before it was canceled by the López Obrador administration.
“Parliamentary group of PAN and the Go for Mexico coalition in Congress committed to the restoration of the Mining Fund... We will fight for it with our future [Durango] Governor, Esteban Villegas,” said Cortés.
The opposition leader criticized the cancellation of the fund that in 2020 held resources of over US$1 billion, which were used to improve the quality of life of municipalities where mining activities were carried out. He also expressed his concern about the ungranted US$18 million from previous exercises, meant for the construction of roads, schools and infrastructure in Durango.
In the state, Go for Mexico expects its candidate Villegas to win the elections of Jun 5, 2022. According to recent polls, he has 49 percent of the votes, going up against MORENA candidate Marina Vitela, who is polled to gain 42 percent of the votes. Villegas is seen as key in the mission to restore the Mining Fund because Durango’s Congress has been pushing for its reactivation.
The Mining fund was a special tax charged to mining companies, launched in 2014 and was canceled in 2019. The special tax is still charged to companies, but the resources are used for projects across the country, not exclusively those for mining communities.
Opposition leaders and mining organizations have urged the federal government to restore the Fund, arguing that although it was not perfect, it brought significant benefits to the communities. “Despite deficiencies in the design and implementation of the Mining Fund, it was a mechanism with high redistribution potential, if improved, it could have had a great impact in mining communities,” said OXFAM in a report.
In April 2022, the Congress of Guanajuato urged the federal government to analyze and restore the Mining Fund, arguing that it brings benefits to the communities and mining workers.
The main players in the mining sector, led by the Mexican Mining Chamber (CAMIMEX) said in a joint statement that the industry is committed to the development of the country and that it is an ally of the government in this mission. Nevertheless, they urged the federal government to generate legal certainty in order to keep fostering a responsible mining industry.