Mining Stirs Tensions in Mexico

mineThe Wall Street Journal, 5/23/2013

An influx of mining investments throughout Latin America is bringing badly needed investment, but is also causing tensions in some communities, pitting those who see mines as job creators against those who view them as predatory, in some cases threatening scarce resources like water. Here in the Ocotlán valley in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, two outspoken opponents of a subterranean mine run by a small Canadian firm, Fortuna Silver Mines Inc., were killed in separate incidents in the past year. Dozens were beaten or threatened. Two local government officials who approved the mine, including the then-mayor, were killed by an anti-mining mob.

From 2006 to 2011, mining exploration investment in the region jumped 150% to $4.55 billion, top in the world and equal to one in every four dollars, according to the mining industry information company Metals Economics Group. The investments are creating jobs, roads and other benefits in some of the most neglected corners of the developing world. But it is also creating tensions in a region with a long and complicated history with mining.

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Exclusive: Mexico says mine industry investment could rise a bit through 2018

MiningReuters, 5/22/2013

Mexico sees total mining investment between 2013-2018 of at least $25 billion, holding steady or rising slightly from the previous six years despite the prospect of less favorable metals prices, Mexico’s top government mining official told Reuters on Wednesday. “We estimate total investment for the (president’s) six year term could be above or around $25 billion or $26 billion,” Mario Cantu Suarez, Mexico’s chief mining official, told Reuters at the BNAmericas Mexico mining summit.

Over the six-year term of former president Felipe Calderon, when metals prices saw an unprecedented boom thanks to top commodity buyer China, total investment reached $25 billion, with foreign companies accounting for 40 percent. Driven by Chinese demand, commodity prices soared in recent years, and Mexico’s mining income grew 134 percent between 2009-2011. Mining is now Mexico’s fourth largest industry in dollar income, behind automobiles, oil and electronics, according to official data.

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