Mexico exploration companies focus on project market amid concessions freeze

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2022

To keep growing despite a mining concessions freeze in Mexico, exploration companies are increasingly buying concessions and land titles that have remained inactive.

“[The freeze] has led us to look at individuals or companies of any size, large, medium and small. If you, Grupo México, Fresnillo or Peñoles, are not interested in 100,000oz of gold or silver, well, I am. Sell it to me, option me or swap your project with me,” Reyna Silver’s exploration vice president Ariel Navarro, told the Latin America Gold and Silver congress in Mexico City on Tuesday.

"You always have to try to take advantage of bad times and that is one of the advantages we have right now: tianguis de proyectos, the project market, project swaps," he added. Reyna is developing the Batopilas gold-silver project in Chihuahua.

The term tianguis de proyectos is derived from the indigenous Nahuatl language, and is more and more important.

"The current situation is that they don't give out new titles," said Vizsla Silver country manager Hernando Rueda. “We can negotiate the titles that are already there, yes. Obviously, the processes take longer to register in the public mining registry, but that is the opportunity we have.”

Rueda said many private individuals own rights to highly prospective areas, which the sector must begin to consolidate to develop mining and attract investors.

“It is the ability that we can develop, start looking for those titles … because there are not going to be any more titles right now. We already know that the door over there is half blocked, we are going to unlock the others,” he added. Vizsla is developing the Pánuco-Copala gold-silver project in Sinaloa.

Trevor Woolfe, VP of exploration and corporate development at GR Silver Mining, told BNamericas at the event that the lack of concessions is a risk, but one thing that improves is exploration investment by local players, investment and investment funds, and not only by large mining groups.

"There is not a lot of money from Mexico investing in exploration ... You can invest in companies that are already doing exploration, like ours, and we are attracting money from Canada, the US and Australia, but there is not a lot of investment from Mexico," he said. GR Silver Mining develops the Plomosas project.

Capital flight and growing insecurity were other risks mentioned by executives, and they reiterated that new concessions are required as investment will have to come from abroad.

BNamericas previously reported that mining chamber Camimex said over 800 projects are jeopardized because of the freeze, which even threatens the entire industry. No new concessions have been granted since the government term started in 2018. Mining contributes 6.7% to GDP.

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