Mexico, a country with a mining history which straddles almost 500 years, still weighs amongst the world’s largest metal producers. It represents a major mineral exploration ground. This review provides a snapshot of the state of mining industry and lists specific topics for companies that are interested in investing in Mexico’s mineral wealth. Many more links lead to detailed resources, while the easy access to InfoMine’s comprehensive database could narrow the search to any of the hundreds of active companies and their properties.
Situated between the United States to the north and Guatemala and Belize to the south, Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world. The country covers an area of 1.97 million square kilometers and boasts a population of 110.6 million. Mexico's official language is Spanish but there are another 54 indigenous languages spoken.
The coastline stretches 9,300 kilometers with the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez to the west. Although best known for its production of silver—over 10 billion ounces have been produced to date—the country also mines significant quantities of copper, gold, lead and zinc.
Mining preceded the arrival of the Spaniards. Pre-Columbian populations held gold in high esteem. In the name of Spain, Hernando Cortez came to Mexico in 1521. Within a matter of years, silver started to flow into the Spanish treasury from Mexican mines. During the next 300 years of Spanish rule, many other minerals were extracted from the ground, such as copper, gold, coal, lead and iron.
Mexico consists of a large and elevated plateau flanked by two volcanic mountain ranges, the Sierra Madre Occidental and Oriental, which meet in the south forming the Sierra Madre del Sur. The much younger trans-Mexican volcanic belt cuts from east to west through the plateau and boasts hundreds of young and sometimes active volcanic peaks, like Popocatepetl, Colima and Pico de Orizaba to the south of Mexico City. Narrow coastal plains are bordered by the abrupt sides of the volcanic ranges except in the southeast where the Yucatan Peninsula, a flat-lying limestone plain, lies at the shore of the Gulf of Mexico.
Volcanic activity is responsible for riddling the Sierras Madre with a large number of precious and base metal mineral deposits.
Detailed geological information could be retrieved in a variety of forms from the Mexican Geological Survey (SGM). Geological, mining, geophysical and geochemical maps could be accessed on-line on the Mexican Geological Survey's site. The National Seismologic Service(in Spanish) is hosted by the National University of Mexico and provides active earthquake monitoring services. Other maps and geographical information are available from the National Statistics Systems and Geographical Information Institute (Spanish only site).
Climate in Mexico is influenced by its geographical location - straddling the Tropic of Cancer and being located on a narrow landmass surrounded by oceans. Local topography further compounds the problem – Mexico displays everything from glacier capped volcanoes to semi-arid and desert regions like the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts.
Trade winds bring moisture from the east and north. Sonora and Baja California are the only parts of Mexico's coasts that are not affected by cyclones or tropical storms during the June to October season.
Mexico has a great diversity of vegetation types and some of them are endemic to the country. Loss of biodiversity is mainly caused by deforestation and urban expansion.