Mexico's mining sector misses out on US$11bn due to deteriorating conditions

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Miners with operations in Mexico would invest US$11bn over the next two years under the right conditions, which, however, have deteriorated during the current administration, after it stopped granting concessions and showed inability to improve security. 

“Investments are made if you make those concessions. If we don't have concessions, we don't have mines where we’ll invest,” Jaime Gutiérrez, the president of mining chamber Camimex, which represents 90% of sector players, said during the presentation of the 2022 sustainability report.

“The investments we've made to date were in already operating assets, in expansions and some exploration in places adjacent to assets we are currently working on, but an additional investment could not be made if the land we have is not covered by a concession,” Gutiérrez said.

Camimex and mining engineers, metallurgists and geologists association AIMMGM have criticized the lack of new concessions and land titles for granted concessions, a situation which impedes investments and new projects and threatens the sector.

The mining-metallurgical industry was Mexico’s fifth biggest FDI generator in 2021 with US$23.6bn, according to official data.

Last year, Mexico ranked 34 of 77 in the Fraser Institute’s investment attraction index and 76 in terms of security.

“We are practically in the last positions. And of course, all this generates uncertainty in the markets and discourages investment,” Camimex executive director Karen Flores said during the event. She added FDI is going to more stable jurisdictions like Peru or Chile.


Over the weekend, violence escalated in Zacatecas state, a key mining jurisdiction. The episode involved roadblocks following the murder of the local National Guard leader.

Gutiérrez said such events are common across the country, even though current reporting focuses on Zacatecas.

“I am not exaggerating, it is an additional mining tax. The theft of materials, the theft of our finished products is among the most important problems we face,” adding that associated costs represent 10%-20% of the finished product.

Camimex projects a 15% FDI drop for this year compared to last year’s US$4.8bn. On Tuesday, however, Gutiérrez urged caution regarding these projections.

In the first nine months, mining FDI dropped 56% year-on-year, according to the economy ministry.

The Camimex presentation said benefits generated by the sector reached 269bn pesos (US$13.6bn) last year, up 25% on 2020, mainly due to rising metals prices.

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