Australia's miners dragging their feet and being swamped by Canada in Mexico's resources upside

Canadian miners are swarming over Mexico and its high level of mineral prospectivity at the expense of Australia’s explorers and miners who have only made a tentative foray into the Latin America isthmus.

Addressing the second day today of the sixth Paydirt Latin America Downunder conference in Perth, Azure Minerals’ Managing Director, Mr Tony Rovira, said he continued to be confounded by the lack of a prominent Australian presence in resource rich Mexico.

“We have been there for 12 years and it is one of the best mining jurisdictions in the world for opportunity and discovery,” Mr Rovira said.

“Yet apart from BHP’s recent return to oil interests in Mexico, there are only four or five Australian resources companies in Mexico’s hard rock mineral sector.

“Yet there are more than 200 Canadian resources players in the Mexican mining game – a sector which had Foreign Direct Investment of over US$4.6 billion in 2015,” he said.

“In short, Australia is not in the competition but it should be.”

Mr Rovira has the firepower to back his argument, with Azure building a $10 million cash-in-bank war-chest and attracting the Canadian mining major, Teck Resources, to its business strategy on Mexican projects with Azure free-carried for a US$10 million work program.

“With this strong financial position, Azure has moved to a footing of project acquisition and are favoured in this regard by the fact a large slice of Mexico’s mineral potential is tied up not in corporates and joint ventures but family-owned mining or exploration assets which often have been held for generations,” Mr Rovira said.

“Azure is looking for assets offering near-term production opportunity or which are sufficiently advanced as to warrant further exploration and development expenditure.

“Basically, we are seeking another advanced stage flagship project to add to our portfolio of two the wholly owned projects, Promontorio and Alacran. This new flagship project will be the Company’s focus going forward”.

Teck is earning a 51% stake in Alacran with its US$10 million spend. The project hosts a resource of 32 million ounces of silver and 150,000 ounces of gold.

Promontorio has mineral resources of 40,000t of copper, 151,000 ounces of gold and 3.3 million ounces of silver.

Azure is currently negotiating a partnership with major mining companies to advance the Promontorio project.