Hermosillo, Sonora.- Mexico has been the largest silver producer in the world for thirteen years and this has called the attention of the United Nations Organization (UN) to launch a pilot project in the country focused on sustainability.
Mexico was selected for the pilot as the only country in Latin America, among a list that also included Brazil, Colombia and Peru, because it stands out for its diversity of energy sources , from geothermal or solar, to wind or hydroelectric, as well as for its deposits.
In conjunction with the Ministry of Economy, three mining operations were chosen that are located in different stages, but that share the extraction of gold and silver and that are based in Canada : the Tuligtic Project in Puebla, owned by Almaden Minerals , which is located in initial stage; La Colorada in Sonora, in the hands of Argonaut Gold , which is in full development, and San Martín in Querétaro, close to closure, operated by Starcore .
These three operations will apply the standards and methodologies for sustainable mining within the framework of the 2030 Agenda. The foundations are laid in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) , made up of 17 points that emphasize different areas, such as education, poverty and natural resources, but that are intertwined in seeking the common good .
Climate change, poverty, water scarcity and gender gaps are some of the priority issues that the UN has included in its agenda. Through the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), it launched the International Center of Excellence in Sustainable Resource Management in Extractive Industries and Energy (ICE-SRM), based in Geneva.
UNECE decided to open an ICE-SRM office in Mexico, the only one in the Americas, due to “its proximity to North America and Mexico’s leadership in Latin America,” said Ulises Neri, executive director of the center in the country. There are also two other centers in China and Russia, while a location in the Middle East and Africa is yet to be defined.
Neri underlines that the intention of observing the operations of the mines in different stages, while they are adhering to these standards and methodologies, is to detect the needs and challenges that arise for all those involved: the communities, the companies and the government. The project has been developed for two months of the six total that it will last.
“To seek a true sustainable operation (and not a greenwashing ) it is necessary to understand how you are located today technically, economically, socially, environmentally, to see the film in the next 15, 20, 30 years that you are going to be in a community . Obviously all this within the framework of a methodology, which helps to integrate all these elements”, adds Neri.
It is not the first time that the UN seeks to promote sustainable schemes in Mexico . After the creation of the ICE SRM, the organization applied the same methodologies in 17 oil fields, owned by companies such as Pemex, Shell and BP, among others.
The project brought with it favorable results, since the Energy Commission of the Chamber of Deputies issued an exhortation to the National Hydrocarbons Commission to change the current regulation in favor of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with the objective that oil companies already have this level of bonding.
“The same thing that happens in hydrocarbons, now we would like it to happen in the mining issue. So that tomorrow whoever develops a mining project, develops it under a concept of sustainable development”, he explains.