Mexico extends COVID-19 emergency

The Mexican government announced April 22 that it was extending its national health emergency directive for COVID-19 for another 30 days to May 30, though some of the country’s mines are hoping a restart could be on the cards earlier.
Mexico extends COVID-19 emergency Mexico extends COVID-19 emergency Mexico extends COVID-19 emergency Mexico extends COVID-19 emergency Mexico extends COVID-19 emergency

The Juanicipio project in the Fresnillo District, Zacatecas State, Mexico

Mining Magazine is making some of its most important coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic freely available to readers. For more coverage, please see our COVID-19 hub. To subscribe to Mining Magazine, click here.

Gold Resource is one, confirming this week that it continues to take precautionary measures at its Oaxaca mining operations. Because the national order also suggests the potential for sooner starts in lesser-affected regions of Mexico by outlining only non-essential businesses must remain under lockdown, the US-based miner said it will submit an application to fast-track its start.

"The COVID-19 impact map provided by the government shows Oaxaca among the least impacted zones in Mexico," officials said, noting its application is being finalised.

"While the company's Oaxaca mining unit is prepared to remain closed until the new extended May 30, 2020 date if needed, the plan to be submitted includes a staged ramp-up focused on utilizing local workforce first with a potential quarantine period for those that would be returning to work from outside the local area."

The company's Nevada mining unit is continuing to operate, as US state directives there did not dictate it to suspend operations.

While some like Gold Resource are hoping to speed up the process, others seem to be treading with caution but with an eye on economics.

Canada-based Mag Silver, which owns the Juanicipio in the country, operated by joint venture partner Fresnillo, confirmed consultations with government officials "to determine the most appropriate compliance approach" that will minimise impacts to its project development.

"To date, surface exploration and construction work has been temporarily stopped," it said. "The underground operation has been temporarily reduced to a minimum working level under rigid hygienic protocols."

Argonaut Gold said the government measures currently do not apply to municipalities with few or no cases of COVID-19, and those may re-open on May 18, a deadline it is currently working towards for restarting its Mexican operations.

"To date, there are no known cases of COVID-19 infection at any of the company's operations, projects or corporate offices," Argonaut said in a statement. It is adhering to strict hygiene and health protocols to protect its personnel.

It expects to restart mining, crushing and stacking operations on May 18 and to reach normal run rates a week after.

According to Mexican media reports, the country now has more than 10,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and is nearing 1,000 deaths.

Most read Viewpoint