In 2021, investment in the mining sector plummeted 47%, José Jaime Gutiérrez Núñez, president of the Mexican Mining Chamber, reported yesterday. Investments, which were just over 8,000 million dollars in 2020, fell to 4.3 million in 2021, as reported by the newspaper 24 Horas.
According to him, “this is due, in large part, to the current conditions of lack of legal rights, security, lack of tax incentives to develop exploration as it had been previously, and the lack of mining concessions in recent years.” .
He added that the policy of the current government towards the mining sector prevents the generation of more than 50,000 new direct jobs and 300,000 indirect jobs; that over the next six years no more than 24.2 billion dollars be invested in new mines, and that no additional 23.5 billion pesos enter the treasury through taxes and duties each year.
The government’s attitude towards mining was made clear on May 19, 2021, when the Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources, María Luisa Albores, said at the presidential press conference that day: “Talking a bit about mining is also talk a little about social inequality (…) the case of the municipality of Mazapil, which is mainly dedicated to mining (…) it is the second municipality with the highest poverty in the state of Zacatecas despite the fact that there are two very important mining companies there (…) We find socio-environmental conflicts caused by this activity (…) previously, with the complicity of governments, mining companies have devastated ecosystems and hydrological basins, contaminating entire regions. When we talk about environmental pollution, it directly affects the health of the inhabitants. There are mining companies that resort, that resorted to illegal methods to establish themselves and this has generated social conflicts due to violation of rights, dispossession of land and resources of the communities (…) we seek that in the mining that works in our country it contemplates the following: That respects the environment. That he consult the communities and respect their will (…) That he contribute fair taxes by taking advantage of assets that belong to the nation and to all the people of Mexico.”
Albores proudly said something that his boss has been saying since he became president: “During the current administration, no new mining concessions have been granted…”.
I don’t know if all the mining companies are or were as bad as Albores described them, but it is a verifiable fact that some of them have long been denounced for violating environmental and labor laws and violating the human rights of many Mexicans.
In any case, perhaps it is time for the federal government to start granting new concessions, taking care at all times that the mining companies obey the laws and comply with the conditions that Albores established almost a year ago. If not, let them be sanctioned, because the authorities are here to enforce the law.
Our country requires investments that generate well-paid jobs and mining can contribute to this. The 4T government has to reach agreements with the sector so that everyone wins: workers, communities, companies and the government.
Hopefully they will do it before the end of this six-year term.
Facebook: Eduardo J Ruiz-Healy
Journalist and producer
Opinionist, columnist, lecturer, media trainer, 35 years of experience in the media, microentrepreneur.