To begin with, can you provide an overview of the mining sector?
AIMMGM brings together professionals from the earth sciences sector and is mainly focused on the mining sector. We now have more than 3,000 members and are present in all mining states as well as in several districts, with the possibility of having several districts in the same state. The association seeks to train, develop, and consolidate the technical and scientific knowledge of our members.
Foreign investment in the mining sector has fallen recently. What are the factors behind this drop?
The drop in investment in mining exploration has slowed worldwide. There were peaks such as in 2011, which led to high levels of investment, though Mexico has consistently lost competitiveness in terms of attracting this investment. This investment is extremely important because it is the first link in the mining chain. If you reduce investment in mining exploration, the development of new mines or the utilization of existing mines will deteriorate over time. Unfortunately, we have lost important places. In 2011, Mexico was in first place in attracting mining investment in Latin America and fourth worldwide, but we are gradually losing this competitive edge. We have been surpassed by several countries such as Chile and Peru. If we stop exploring, it will be difficult to reach our earlier levels of competitiveness. Investment in Mexico has fallen because the increase in new mining taxes has made it one of the countries with the highest tax burden, which has reduced its competitiveness. Other factors include safety and a lack of certainty.
How are you collaborating with the public sector to find a solution to the issues holding back investment in the country?
One of the things that the mining sector always has to do is to maintain solid communication with the authorities so that they are aware of the mining situation in Mexico. This helps to improve the image of mining at an international level. For this reason, we establish communications with the authorities, in this case with the Ministry of Economy and the head of the Extractive Activities Coordination Unit, who is now representing us in Mexico. Some roundtables have been established so that together we can find better ways to help the mining sector acquire the competitiveness that it had a few years ago. Dialogue is indispensable, and we are seeking to obtain this balance.
There is slightly more optimism this year considering the price of minerals has gone up considerably. Will investment in the mining sector increase this year?
We are extremely optimistic that things will improve this year compared to last year, which was difficult for the sector. It is important to emphasize that the price of metals has remained at a positive level, which is great for mining companies. Therefore, despite the pandemic and the fact that the mining industry was brought to a standstill, thanks to the effort and solidarity of the sector, it was possible to maintain the number of mine workers. Even in 2021, there was growth. Mining is an ally in the economic reactivation of Mexico, which is what we must seek with the authorities.
Can you elaborate on AIMMGM's convention in 2021 focusing on mining being a pillar of Mexico's economic reactivation?
The international mining convention, one of the most important in the Americas, is held every two years. It is the most important convention after Las Vegas and Chile. The theme of the 34th convention is the role of mining in Mexico's economic reactivation. It is important that we have a presence in our convention, taking care of all the protocols we have to perform to protect the health of the attendees. A series of strict measures was applied in all areas. With all these protocols, we had a great convention, although with fewer people.