Mexico is an incredibly rich country in terms of natural resources. Oil is the country’s most valuable natural resource, but it is also incredibly rich in silver, in which it is the world’s largest producer. Other major resources are gold, iron, copper, natural gas, lead, zinc, molybdenum, manganese, tungsten, sulphur and timber.
Mexico has a long history of gold and silver mining, which notably dates back to pre-Columbian times. The rich gold and silver reserves led to the country being the jewel in the Spanish Empire’s crown. Mexico is ranked amongst the top 15 gold producers in the world, producing approximately 24 metric tons of gold every year and the sector has experienced increased investment since the turn of the millennium.
Mexico has long been the world’s primary producer of silver and has accounted for around one third of the world’s silver in existence today. It is thought that the Aztecs were the first to extract silver from the Sierra Madre Mountains. The Spanish established their first silver mine as early as 1531 and produced huge amounts of the precious metal.
The majority of Mexico’s silver reserves are held within the so called “silver belt”, or “La Faja de Plata”, within the Occidental range of the Sierra Madre Mountains, with the region easily being the most productive silver region in the world.
In modern times, Mexico’s silver mining industry began to experience significant growth from the 1960’s on, after the development of new advancements in geochemistry and geophysics. The 1990’s saw a modernization of Mexico’s legal and physical mining infrastructure in order to attract increased levels of foreign investment into the sector.
Today, Mexico produces almost 2,900 metric tons of silver per year and despite estimates suggesting 80% of Mexico’s silver has already been mined, has approximate reserves measuring 85,000 metric tons remaining underground. With these reserves, Mexico will remain a global leader in silver mining and production for many years to come.
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