Mexican mining projects account for 4 of the world's 9 largest operations

They are controlled by three domestic companies as well as one international company. Grupo México (Larrea), Peñoles (Bailleres) and Fresnillo (Slim) operate them.

Mexican mining projects account for 4 of the world's 9 largest operations
Four of the nine largest mining operations in the world are located in Mexico. Photo by Shane McLendon / Unsplash

Mexico is home to four of the nine largest mining projects in the world, headed by private companies, which has made it possible that two years after the covid-19 pandemic, the value of mining production has not only not fallen, but has soared 48 percent, according to official data.

According to the Prontuario Estadístico de la Minería, prepared by the Ministry of Economy, in 2019, that is, before the pandemic, the value of metals and minerals extracted by companies from the Mexican subsoil amounted to 228,295 million pesos, while in 2021 it closed at 338,187 million.

Part of this increase is related to four of the world's largest mining projects being developed in Mexico, which are operated by large corporations such as Grupo México, Peñoles, Fresnillo, Gatos Silver, and Dowa Mining.

In third place among the nine largest mining projects in the world, except the Chinese, says the agency's report, is Buenavista, a mine with a capacity of 80,000 tons per year that belongs to Grupo Mexico.

The company, which belongs to Germán Larrea, the second wealthiest person in the country, only behind Carlos Slim, points out that Buenavista del Cobre "is an engine for the country's metal-mechanical and electrical industry, as it currently produces 60 percent of Mexico's copper".

In 2014, the Buenavista del Cobre mine dumped 40 million liters of acidified copper sulfate solution into the Bacanuchi and Sonora rivers, making it one of the largest mining disasters in Mexico's history.

In a sixth place out of nine in the world is the Capela mine, which belongs to Peñoles, a company owned by another Mexican magnate, Alberto Bailleres. This mine located in the state of Guerrero began operating in 2020 and has a production capacity of 40 thousand tons per year, mainly silver.

According to SE data, Mexico ranks first in the world in silver production, with 5,600 tons, 22% of the 25,000 tons produced worldwide.

In seventh place among the world's largest mining projects is the Juanicipio gold mine, owned by Fresnillo, a mining company that is also part of the Bailleres family, which has a production capacity of 35,000 tons per year.

This mine helps Mexico to occupy the 10th position among the largest gold-producing countries in the world.

In eighth place is the Cerro los Gatos mine, owned by the US company Gatos Silver and the Canadian company Dowa Mining, located in Chihuahua, with a production capacity of 30 thousand tons of silver per year.

The projects that complete the list are: in the first place, Glencore's Zhairem mine; in second place, Tau Ken Samruk's Shalkiya mine, both in Kazakhstan; in fourth place, Nexa's Aripuana mine in Brazil; in fifth place, Heron's Woodlawn mine in Australia; and in ninth place, Korea Zinc's Pachapaqui mine in Peru.