Mexican Cartels Hurting Silver Mining

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


As one of the world’s largest silver producers, Mexico stood to gain from a global rise in silver prices. Instead, some mining companies are finding that it’s just too dangerous, or expensive, to keep up business as usual. Cartel members rob and ransom workers, try to sell drugs to employees, coerce mine-owners into money laundering, and are now stealing raw ore and selling it to other countries. As the Latin American Herald Tribune recently reported:

In one recent operation against the nation’s cartels, the arrest of the reputed money manager of the crime syndicate La Familia Michoacana, it was discovered that that organization sold 1.1 million tons of illegally extracted iron ore in China for $42 million.
The theft of minerals in the western state of Michoacan has increased in recent years as that area has come under the control of La Familia, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office said.

In response, certain mining firms are choosing to stop exploration projects. Mexico’s Chamber of Commerce says the threats are not just to mines in established areas, but those in more isolated places where cartels grow opium poppies and marijuana. Security costs are up 5 to 10% over last year, one firm reported. Canada’s Goldcorp—under fire for not providing promised jobs and services to local peoples—has gone so far as to build a private airstrip near its mines to prevent ore shipments being hijacked on Mexican highways. Such is the cost of business in Mexico. The question is if there will come a point for the majority of mining firms in Mexico when the security costs and collateral damage are higher than any potential profits. Already cartels have shut down schools and brought city life to a standstill. Some think they may do the same to Mexico’s already struggling economy if they keep interfering with Mexico’s major industries.

 

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate