Mining in Mexico: Ministry of Economy wants greater control

If an legislative initiative to reform mining in Mexico is approved, the Ministry of Economy would have greater control over exploited mineral resources.

In order to regulate and avoid “predatory, harmful and contrary mining activities” to the right to water, to a healthy environment, to the health of people and, in general, to the rights of the people and communities where such projects are carried out, the following instruments must be presented, according to the reform initiative:

  • Social impact study. It allows to prospect the possible social effects of a mining project in a specific mining community.
  • Restoration, Closure and Post-closure Program. It establishes the actions of repair, restoration, rehabilitation and environmental remediation to be carried out from the beginning of the exploration, exploitation and benefit activities of minerals or substances until post-closure;
  • Mine Closure Plan and submission of letters of credit to guarantee compliance with mitigation and restoration obligations; and
  • Waste Management Program. Its purpose is to control hazardous waste, mining waste and metallurgical waste subject to management plans.

Mining in Mexico

The initiative proposes that the concession be granted only for mineral or substance susceptible to exploitation, which will allow greater control and generation of resources for the State and the affected communities.

Currently, the Mining Law establishes, regarding concessions:

  • The exploration, exploitation and benefit of the minerals or substances referred to in the Law are of public utility, and will be preferential over any other use or exploitation of the land, which guarantees national and foreign investments over any activity.
  • Given their “public utility” status, the Mexican State must expropriate land in favor of the holders of the mining concessions, who, consequently, have the right to request the expropriation of land susceptible to mining exploitation.
  • Every lot, in the national territory, is “free” and, consequently, susceptible to be granted in mining concession.
  • The first applicant has the right to be granted a “free” lot in concession, with the exception of those lands that the State has declared a mining reserve zone.
  • There is no limitation to transfer the concession titles or the rights that cover such titles, which allows them to be used to speculate with the Nation’s resources, without any retribution to the State.
  • Concessions are granted for 50 years, extendable for an equal term, that is, for a total of 100 years, to carry out exploitation, exploitation and benefit activities.


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