Mining operations ramp down production in Mexico following new government restrictions
Newmont Corp. announced that following new, Coronavirus-related restrictions by the government of Mexico, the company is taking steps toward a safe and orderly ramp down of operations at the Peñasquito Mine in the state of Zacatecas.
Mexico’s federal government published a decree mandating the temporary suspension of all non-essential activities until April 30 as part of a nationwide effort to help slow the global pandemic. At this time, mining has not been deemed an essential activity under the decree and Newmont and other mining companies are engaging with the government to understand the intended impacts of the decree on operations.
Newmont said in statement that Peñasquito will work closely with local governments, neighboring communities, employees, unions and contractors to ensure a safe and orderly ramp down that complies with the federal government’s directives.
“Whilst Newmont currently has no confirmed cases of COVID-19, we have proactively implemented rigorous and wide-ranging controls at all of our sites around the globe to protect our workforce and neighboring communities from contracting or transmitting the disease,” said Tom Palmer, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We will, of course, comply with Mexico’s latest directive while engaging with the government to gain further clarity regarding important activities that may continue at the mine. In the meantime, we will ensure Peñasquito remains well-positioned to safely and efficiently ramp up operations in a timely manner once the government’s directive is lifted.”
Other mining companies that have announced temporary suspensions at operations in Mexico include Argonaut Gold, Pan American Silver, Sierra Metals, Excellon Resources and Almos Gold.
Mexico is the world’s largest silver producer.
Mexican industry leaders are pushing for an exclusion to the temporary halt of non-essential activities. They argue that mining should be allowed to continue due to its importance to national supply chains and the wellbeing of host communities.
“To define the mining sector as non-essential, is not only to economically affect thousands of workers, but also to leave 656 communities alone where we operate and to whom we provide basic health services,” Fernando Alanís, president of the Mexican mining chamber (Camimex), said via Twitter.
Photo credit: GrupoMexico