[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for July 24. See original here.]
by Israel Rodríguez
The production of gold in Mexico, dominated by foreign companies, most of them Canadian, has increased by 100 percent in the current administration, increasing from 43.7 tons in 2007, the first year of the Felipe Calderón administration, to 87 tons in 2011. The Canadian company Goldcorp Inc. became the largest producer of gold in Mexico, according to preliminary reports from the Cámara Minera Mexicana (Camimex).
The uncertain environment of the global economy, with low interest rates, a weakened US dollar and the currency war, kept gold in the state of shelter for large investments, which also hastened the opening of new mining operations and sparked investment in exploration for the metal.
The price of an ounce of gold rose from around 700 dollars in 2007 to 1,851 dollars in July, 2012, which translates to an increase of 164 percent.
Due to the flexibility of Mexican law governing the granting of concessions, for the second consecutive year Mexico is in fourth position in the world and first position in Latin America in attracting capital for exploration. It is surpassed only by Canada, Australia and the United States.
Based on information supplied to Camimex by producing groups, the total values of mine production in 2011 reached 19 billion dollars, of which 25 percent comes from the exploitation of gold, 20 percent from silver, 17 percent from copper and the remaining 38 percent from zinc, coke, iron and coal, among others.
Sonora, Chihuahua and Zacatecas accounted for 70 percent of the extraction of gold in the country. The remaining 30 percent came from Guerrero, Durango and San Luis Potosí.
The Canadian company Goldcorp Inc. is the largest producer of gold in Mexico. It began commercial operation of the Peñasquito mine in Zacatecas in February, 2010. Its operations program proposed production of 350,000 ounces of gold, at 100 percent of capacity, and it is expected to become the largest gold mine in the country. In its time, Los Filos, located in Guerrero, was the largest gold mine in Mexico in 2010.
For its part, the company Fresnillo Plc, listed on the London stock exchange, which represents the second largest producer of gold in the country, reported that in 2010 it achieved an increase in production of 33.4 percent from its units.
The Canadian company Gammon Gold Inc. reported that in 2010 its Ocampo mine in Chihuahua attained production of 103,200 ounces of gold (3.2 tons), which represents a decrease of five percent compared to what it attained in 2009.
Another Canadian company, Argonaut Gold Inc. produced at its El Castillo mine, located in Durango, 51,324 ounces of gold (1,59 tons), which represents an increase of 78 percent over the 28,768 ounces produced in 2009.
New Gold Inc., which operates the Cerro San Pedro gold and silver mine in San Luis Potosí, increased its production of gold by 24.2 percent with resect to that obtained in 2009. The total extraction in 2010 amounted to 118,708 ounces (3.7 tons).
Canadian company Yamana Gold Inc. continued the construction and preparation of the Mercedes gold and silver mine, located in northern Sonora, which is projected to begin operations in 2012 and should produce 125,000 ounces of gold.
Timmins Gold Corp. had planned to produce 100,000 ounces of gold a year at its San Francisco mine in Sonora beginning in 2011.
US Gold of the United States is moving forward aggressively in its gold and silver project, El Gallo, in Sinaloa. With an investment of 100 million dollars, US Gold estimates it will attain a production of 50,250 ounces of gold beginning in 2014.
The Australian company Cerro Resources NL reported that it is developing a feasibility study of the Cerro del Gallo project, located in Guanajuato. If the results of the study, which concluded in March, 2011, are positive operations are predicted to begin in 2012. Cerro del Gallo has 69.9 million tons of mineral with a content of 0.66 grams of gold per ton and 13.6 grams of siler per ton.
In addition, Goldcorp Inc. exploration work on the Camino Rojo satellite projects in Zacatecas is continuing.
At the international level, according to the Mineral Commodity Summaries 2011, China once again occupied the position of the greatest producer of gold in the world, with 345 tons, which represents an increase of 15 percent, followed by Australia and the United States, with 255 and 230 tons respectively.
They are followed by Russia and South Africa, with 190 tons each; Peru follows, with 170, Indonesia with 120 and Ghana with 100 tons a year.
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