Felipe Ibarra
Deputy Minister of Promotion and Economic Competitiveness
Sinaloa Ministry of Economy
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Sinaloa’s High-Grade Unexplored Deposits Are Opportunities

By José Escobedo | Fri, 06/10/2022 - 15:19

Q: What opportunities could boost the mining industry in the state?

A: We know from our experience and from neighboring states that mining is an industry that generates significant profits and employment. In 2021, private investment in mining in Sinaloa totaled MX$7.8 billion (US$381.51 million), exports were valued at US$245 million and employment increased by 20 percent. We want to grow more, so we are always promoting mining and trying to make Sinaloa a more attractive state for exploration. We do not consider traditional mining states Sonora and Zacatecas as competition but as role models because they have had a great deal of success in developing their industries.

We believe there are many opportunities to boost mining in Sinaloa. First, some of the concessions are not being fully exploited. These concessions represent a great opportunity, especially for investors looking to expand their business. Second, the information we have developed with the Ministry of Economy is available to investors so we can later provide them with a tailor-made business plan. Third, the logistics infrastructure in the state, which allows the easy exit of merchandise. Gov. Rocha Moya and Minister of the Economy Javier Gaxiola Coppel have recently commented that the Sinaloa government and the government of Chihuahua want to create a commercial corridor that could significantly benefit both states. On the one hand, Chihuahua would have access to ports as well as establishing connections with the US. This initiative would make it easier to travel to the US through Sinaloa instead of through California. Lastly, we have a great deal of human capital that wants to work in the mining industry because it pays very well. I consider this to be a unique opportunity, since it is often difficult to find local talent.

Q: What opportunities exist to continue developing gold and silver mining operations in the state and how does the ministry help miners take advantage of these?

A: Of the 1,470 mining concessions in Sinaloa, 32 percent are gold and silver. Most are not exploited, so the potential is enormous since the ore has already been found but has not yet been worked. More investment is needed, which we know is complicated. However, we believe that for companies looking for new assets, this is a unique opportunity.

The ministry's role is to communicate and connect concessionaires and investors interested in entering the state. The ministry serves as a link between both parties so that investment agreements can be reached. In addition, we help companies with paperwork and permits, especially for their export processes. We are here to help them with whatever they need.

Q: How does the ministry improve safety and environmental responsibility in mining operations?

A: We believe that safety is a training issue, so we seek to improve communication with mining companies and train their operators so they understand the logistics necessary for a safe mine. Likewise, we help companies obtain certifications that are requested by the government and by the market.  We believe that in the coming years, a new group of miners with a strong safety mindset will emerge, taking the industry to another level.

Q: How does the ministry help resolve disputes between workers and mining companies?

A: The ministry plays the role of moderator, always respecting the rule of law. We respect worker’s rights and their obligations and seek to establish a dialogue with them because disputes can lead to losses for both parties. However, we believe that everything has a solution provided there is good communication. We listen to both parties and mediate a solution.

Q: How is the ministry working to resolve the issue at the San Rafael mine of Americas Gold and Silver?

A: We have established a dialogue with both parties aimed at reaching a fair agreement. The reopening of the mine has been the first significant step in solving the problem and we believe that additional agreements will undoubtedly be reached soon, especially in the labor area. We are very happy with the reopening of the mine since the company provides significant income for the local population.

Q: What are the ministry’s 2022 expectations for the Sinaloa mining sector?

A: We plan to continue strengthening the sector in 2022. The mining industry is already providing many benefits to the state and we want these to increase. This year, we want to have greater dynamism in the private sector. We will accomplish this by convincing them that the state and the government are very receptive to mining projects. There are many business opportunities, especially in the transition from artisanal to modern mining. To achieve this economic development, we need to provide legal certainty to investors. That is one of our priorities. We want to attract investors and communicate all the reliable opportunities that will generate wealth for everyone. We know that mining is a long-term business. We want 2022 to be significant so that in three to five years we can reap the benefits.

 

The Sinaloa Ministry of Economy is part of Sinaloa’s state government, overseeing all economic activity, including mining activities.

 

José Escobedo José Escobedo Senior Editorial Manager