Mexico's lawmakers approve overhaul of mining industry
The proposed overhaul of Mexico’s mining laws that would, among other things, shorten concessions from 50 to 15 years, tighten rules for water permits and require mining companies give back 10 percent of profits to communities was moved forward by the Mexican parliament’s lower house.
The proposed moves that would also require companies to disclose mining impacts has been criticized by industry leaders.
Reuters reported that since President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office in late 2018, he has refused to offer any new mining concessions, arguing that too many had been granted by previous governments.
The head of Mexico’s mining chamber said the proposed overhaul of the country’s mining laws could cost the country some $9 billion in lost investment in coming years and up to 420,000 direct jobs.
On April 21, a vote to advance the overhaul to the senate was carried with 251 in favor and 209 against, after a fast track process.
The reforms would require miners to give back at least 10 percent of profits to communities and disclose the impacts of their operations.
Last year, the president championed the nationalization of the country’s nascent lithium industry, favoring a newly created state-run producer to mine the coveted battery metal, in another move mining sector analysts see dampening investor appetite.
The proposal also intends to forbid concession holders from expropriating land for mining exploitation and replacing land titles with monetary deals.
In parallel, it establishes that the concession granting mechanism should operate through a public tender, and prohibits mining concessions in protected areas.
Photo: Mexican Parliament, source: Shutterstock