Mining investment in Mexico is set to climb by about 42% in 2021 to reach more than $5 billion, after tumbling last year during a pandemic-related economic slowdown, the head of the country’s mining chamber forecast on Monday.
The sector is expected to make significant gains following investment of only $3.53 billion last year, even though the government ultimately designated mining an essential activity, Camimex President Fernando Alanis told reporters on a webcast news conference.
Mexico’s mining sector represents about 2.3% of the country’s overall economic activity.
“We think it could be a good year for investment,” said Alanis, who until earlier this year was the long-time chief executive of Industrias Peñoles, a top precious metals miner.
Mexico is the world’s biggest silver producer, accounting for nearly a quarter of global output, as well as a top ten producer of both gold and copper.
The country is also home to large potential reserves of lithium, used in a wide range of rechargeable batteries and forecast to experience a demand surge later this decade.
Alanis added he expects exploration investment to jump 14% this year to total around $385 million, despite the policy of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to allow no new mining concessions.
While Mexican mining output dipped 1.3% last year in volume terms, the value of the production rose by nearly a quarter to reach some $13 billion thanks to surging metals prices.
(By Noe Torres; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Richard Pullin)