VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr on Wednesday inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal to solidify the countries’ close bilateral relationship.
The MoU for the mining sector will cover geoscience, clean innovation and corporate social responsibility and will promote sharing best practices in water management and the use of renewable energy.
Carr travelled to Mexico to reaffirm Canada and Mexico’s strong North American partnership and identify areas for further cooperation, including sustainable mineral resource development, energy security and clean energy.
The mission comes against the backdrop of US President Donald Trump’s America First policy, including policies promoting US trade protectionism that threaten North American economic cooperation and his executive order on immigration.
The MoU was signed during the Mexico Mining Forum – a yearly event for industry leaders.
“Only 27% of Mexican territory has been explored and many of the country's mines rank globally," Mexico's Deputy Mining Minister Mario Alfonso Cantú stated.
During his presentation, Carr described Mexico as a strong partner for Canada’s mining industry. The Latin American country is the world leader in silver output and in the top ten for 16 other minerals. “There is no better mining partner than Canada. The TSX represents more than half of the equity for financing the industry and hosts more than 60% of publicly traded mining companies,” he said.
Cantú reiterated Mexico’s close cooperation with Canada. Mining exports from Mexico represent $412-million and imports represent $695-million, which makes the relationship between the two extremely important, Cantú said.
Of the 271 foreign mining companies present in Mexico, 176 are Canadian. “In the coming years, this cooperation will be increasingly important, given concern over trade policies in North America,” Cantú stated.
He added that Mexico is in a unique strategic position to capitalise on any mining investment. “In 2016, $4.7-billion was invested in mining in Mexico, $946-million of which was in new projects,” he said.
This compares with 2015 figures of $4.5-billion of investment, $663.1-million of which was allocated to new projects.
Seventy per cent of Mexican territory has geological conditions that are conducive to mining but only 27% of Mexican territory has been explored. And many of the country’s mines rank globally, including Goldcorp’s Peñasquito mine and Fresnillo’s mine of the same name in Zacatecas, Cantú pointed out.
The tight markets of recent years may also have been a blessing, said Cantú, because they forced miners to become more productive, more efficient and filter projects to leave only the most promising.