Real del Monte y Pachuca to close last operating mine

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Mexican miner Real del Monte y Pachuca has decided to close its last operating silver mine at La Rica in Hidalgo state, La Reforma reported.

A total of 95 workers will be laid off as a result of the decision, which will mark the end of 500 years of mining in Hidalgo state. During this time, the mining district of Real del Monte and Pachuca was considered one of the richest in Mexico and at one time employed up to 3,500 people.

The decision has been made due to high costs. The company's manager José Antonio Torres Bañuelos said that although silver reserves still exist at La Rica, production costs are too high to justify continuing operations.

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On closing La Rica, the company is also expected to definitely close the San Juan Pachuca mine where no work is currently taking place. This will follow on from the closure of the state's other mines, El Álamo in 1974 and La Purísima in 1996.

The only operation the company will continue is the extraction of gold and silver from tailings at the Beneficio de Loreto property.

A subsidiary of Mexican steel, chemical, mining and energy conglomerate Grupo Acerero del Norte (GAN), Real del Monte operated at a loss for the last two years.