USMCA an Opportunity for Mining: Graciela MárquezBy Ricardo Guzman | Sat, 07/11/2020 - 17:12
USMCA’s enforcement opens new perspectives for the Mexican economy and for mining, a strategic sector in the economic recovery process that has also established best practices on how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Economy Graciela Márquez said.
“Mexico’s industrial sectors should study how the mining industry has dealt with COVID-19,” Márquez said during the opening speech of the webinar Mining’s New Normal: Reactivating the Industry, organized by the Undersecretary of Mining Francisco Quiroga and Mexico Business News. Márquez said she was aware of the great challenges the mining industry faces and recognized all the great work to move forward this strategic sector for Mexico. “With the new treaty (USMCA), there will be more opportunities for the sector. We are working very hard so mining industry moves back to a growing path,” she said.
Security, the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to ensure sustainable operations and to improve relations with communities stood out among the main topics addressed in the virtual forum, in which governors of Guerrero, Guanajuato, Sonora, Coahuila, Durango and Chihuahua participated, as well as CONCAMIN and CAMIMEX heads and executives from companies such as Grupo México, Minera Frisco and Fresnillo, among others.
Regarding the need to improve security conditions, Manelich Castilla, former Commissioner of the Federal Police, warned about the sector’s vulnerability. “Organized crime is also entering the new-normal and the mining industry is one of its main targets,” he warned. Regarding this, Manuel Espino, Head of Federal Protection Services, said a security task force specially focused on the mining industry is being created. “We are collaborating with the Undersecretary of Mining. We have visited states and companies to propose a strategy that is not reactive but rather anticipates crime,” Espino noted.
During his participation in the virtual forum, Guanajuato Gov. Diego Sinhue Rodríguez, highlighted the importance of a coordinated strategy that has security at its core. “If we have security, there will be investment, jobs and economic growth. Mining’s development must be combined with social and ecological development,” Gov. Sinhue said.
The need to lay the foundations to ensure the development of the sector was a subject addressed by the private sector. “It is not enough to have large mineral reserves. To achieve development of the mining industry it is necessary to emphasize sustainability, health and social affairs,” warned Grupo México Vice President Xavier García de Quevedo, who also stressed the need to have legal certainty and security provided by authorities.
Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Luisa María Alcalde, stressed that USMCA’s labor chapter is still being reviewed, so the labor reform that will ensue will be crucial. Senator and Secretary General of Mexico’s Autonomous Confederation of Workers and Employees Pedro Haces, as well as five other union leaders, also participated in the dialogue forum.
During his closing message, Undersecretary Quiroga said mining in Mexico depends on a joint effort, where health, environment and transparency with communities must prevail.