Image credits: Sonora Cluster
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Sonora Mining Cluster’s MINNOVACIÓN Forum 2020

By Paloma Duran | Wed, 12/02/2020 - 11:30

MINNOVACIÓN Forum 2020, organized by the Sonora Mining Cluster, gathered more than 40 speakers and leaders of the mining sector to address topics like community relations, sustainability and innovation in mining.

Gildardo Montenegro, President of the Sustainability Commission, an entity that has powered MINNOVACIÓN since 2016, said the objective of the forum is to share good practices and learn new strategies that support mining communities. Montenegro said MINNOVACIÓN Forum 2020 sought to attract a wider audience beyond miners. The program was also directed to government, community, academia leaders and those interested in learning about responsible mining, reported MBN.

High-interest topics were discussed, such as social license, green mining, technology and sustainability, inclusion in the mining industry, human rights, circular economy, welfare indexes and mine closure programs. MINNOVACIÓN 2020 included conferences, panels, workshops, networking, a concert by La Caridad Symphony Orchestra and the recognition of 40 members for their commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, reported Outlet Minero.

The event’s Virtual Live Campus platform allowed participants to interact live and in real-time through their devices. Attendees were able to walk around campus with the arrows on their keyboards and attend conferences, visit commercial stands and even engage in group and private talks, reported MBN.

On the first day, the panel titled "Mining Employment: Tips for Students" by Gerardo Morales, Human Capital Manager at Metallorum-Autlán, and Paola Nubes, Human Resources Generalist at First Majestic, aimed to attract the academic audience. 

Morales said the willingness to learn is a top requisite for working in the mining sector. Meanwhile, Nubes said companies’ requirements are not the same as they were 10 years ago and today the  most sought-after skill by employers is the ability to read and write correctly in Spanish and English, followed by teamwork and innovation.

Francisco Quiroga, former Undersecretary of Mining, talked about the challenges the country faces for an economic recovery. Quiroga said the immediate challenges for the industry include a vaccination campaign, readjusting industrial policies and the role academies and unions play.

During the forum’s second day, Alberto Orozco, President of Sonora Mining Cluster, Irma Potes, Community Development Director at Grupo México, and Arturo Arredondo, General Manager at Fresnillo plc, participated in the panel “Working Together for Sonora.”

Orozco highlighted the commitment beyond companies’ objectives, which includes taking care of workers and their families, especially during this pandemic. Potes added that mining companies have been part of the solution to control COVID-19 and that Grupo México has partnered with hospitals, the community and agencies to prevent and control the pandemic. In addition, Arredondo emphasized that mining industries must unite to improve Sonora’s economy and control the pandemic crisis. 

Participants in “Communication for Sustainability,” included Alejandro Ehrenberg, Journalist and Industry Analyst at Mexico Business Publishing, Alberto López Santoyo, Director of Mundo Minero, and Guadalupe Macías, General Director at Kautiva Comunicación Estratégica.

Ehrenberg said mining companies are highly dependent on investment and the trend indicates that sustainability will be a priority for further investment. He said investments in communications are considered the new areas of opportunities and companies should take advantage of this. He added that communication is an integral part of the mining industry and that it could help with the mining job crisis. Santoyo said this communication must be attractive, creative, simple and transparent.

Macías reported that specific and coherent messages are essential for mining audiences. “We must define our audiences and ask ourselves: what content are they interested in? Content could include hard data or a more human narrative,” Ehrenberg added.

On MINNOVACIÓN 2020’s last day, Fernando Alanís, President of CAMIMEX, talked about the challenges and realities the Mexican mining industry is currently facing in Mexico. Alanís said there are many erroneous interpretations concerning the mining industry because there is a profound lack of knowledge of the sector. For example, there is the idea that the mining sector wastes water. However, the sector only uses 0.9 percent of the national water resources. Alanis concluded that the country needs to understand mining is a long-term investment and that it is a national generator of progress and well-being.

During the panel, “Economic Development in Communities,” panelists included Francisca Rodríguez, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at OXXO, José Tovar, Community Relations Coordinator at Alamos Gold, Carlos Torres, Social Development Manager at Industrias Peñoles, Paloma Caballero, Chief of Sustainability at New Gold, and Jorge Vidal, Sonora's Minister of Economy.

Tovar said that if companies and individuals are going to talk about economic development, they must understand communities and territories. Torres mentioned that Peñoles promotes projects that have a constant dialogue with communities.

Caballero mentioned New Gold maintains strategic communication with communities to strengthen the company’s relationship, contributions and developments toward the community. She added that Mineras San Javier launched an inclusive plan, in which, besides complying with the law, the company also promotes social responsibility.

MINNOVACIÓN 2020 invited experts from Australia, Canada, the US, Chile, Spain, New Zealand and Mexico, reported Outlet Minero. The event was sponsored by Industrias Peñoles, Construplan, MAC Distribución, Alamos Gold, Grupo México, Metallorum-Autlán, Argonaut Gold, Agnico Eagle, Fresnillo, SilverCrest, First Majestic, Molymex, Discovery Metals, Outlet Minero and Mexico Business Publishing, the latter being the organizer of Mexico Mining Forum 2021 that will be held in February 2021.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, Outlet Minero
Photo by:   Sonora Cluster
Paloma Duran Paloma Duran Journalist and Industry Analyst