Mexican miners keep working on essential projects

Newmont’s Peñasquito gold mine in Mexico. (Image: Newmont Goldcorp via Flickr)

Mexico’s mining sector, one of the country’s major industries, will be able to continue operations deemed to be essential during the public health crisis caused by coronavirus, two government officials told Reuters.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s administration earlier this week declared a health emergency due to the viral outbreak which requires that non-essential work be shut down or minimized. The declaration was made after Mexico surpassed 1,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Sectors considered by the government to be essential include food, health care, public safety, finance, telecommunications, transportation and public assistance programs.

The mining sector, responsible for about 4% of Mexico’s gross domestic product, will be able to continue with some operations in an effort to avoid the “paralization” of future operations as well as to promote mine safety, the sources said.

The management of mine waste is also considered essential, the sources added, who requested anonymity as they were not authorized to make any announcements.

Mining sector operations were discussed during a video conference call on Tuesday that included Mexico’s interior and foreign ministers, in addition to the country’s 31 state governors.

The interior and foreign ministries did not respond to requests for comment.

(By Diego Ore and Noe Torres; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Alistair Bell)

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