Even though the mining industry in Mexico stopped for more than three months, due to the quarantine caused by the Covid-19 pandemic; in a few days, the extraction sector has recovered 90%, mainly in Zacatecas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Baja California, Durango, and Sonora. And is that Mexico ranks first in silver production worldwide, is among the top 10 producers of 16 different minerals, and is the first destination for investment in mining exploration in Latin America and fourth in the world. Mining contributes 4% of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Economic reactivation

The Undersecretary of Mining at the Ministry of Economy, Francisco Quiróga said that since June 1 when jobs were reactivated, with all the established health measures, the industry has been gradually recovering for all companies and for the 370,000 direct workers, as well as for the 2 million indirect jobs.

The federal deputy of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Carlos Pavon Campos and general secretary of the National Union of Mining Metallurgical and Metal Mechanical Unions of Mexico (UNASIM), said that the first reports of the reopening are positive, taking care of health protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Thus, the governors of Chihuahua, Javier Corral; Coahuila, Miguel Riquelme; Zacatecas, Alejandro Tello; Durango, José Rosas Aispuro, and Nuevo León, Jaime Rodríguez, have reported that the mining industry is recovering and little by little the economy of thousands of families is being reestablished.

Consequences of the pandemic

However, according to estimates, it is likely that the mining industry will register a contraction of 6 to 8%, due to the days when the activity stopped. The losses to domestic and foreign companies will be accounted for at the end of the second quarter of this year (June), however, there is a possibility that the entire production will be normalized by the end of the year. Finally, the specialists agree that 10% of the remaining mining companies are preparing all the measures to resume activities in the next few days; to cover the industry's total exports and internal consumption.

Mexico, 'the king' of world silver mining

Mexico remained the world's largest silver extractor despite a 2 percent drop in production in 2019, the Silver Institute reported. The country reached 190.3 million ounces, well above Peru's 135.4 million and China's 110.7 million, according to the sector's annual report. The drop in the extraction of the metal in the country was caused by a lower capacity to obtain it as well as by the social blockades that some companies experienced.

Fresnillo, the world's largest silver mining company, experienced an 11 percent drop in attributable silver production as a result of lower grades at its Fresnillo, Saucito, and San Julián mines. Other significant declines came from operations that were placed under care and maintenance during the year, such as First Majestic's El Cubo and San Martin mines and Endeavour Silver.

Fresnillo, a company of Industrias Peñoles, extracted 51.8 million ounces of silver in 2019, placing it as the company that extracts the most silver in the world, followed by KGHM Polska with 45.6 million and Glencore with 32 million.