Behind the scenes at Grupo Mexico, the world's leading producer of copper
Grupo Mexico is the largest miningcorporation in Mexicoand the third largest copperproducer in the world. The group is also a major producer of silver...
Grupo Mexico is the largest mining corporation in Mexico and the third largest copper producer in the world. The group is also a major producer of silver, zinc, gold, lead and molybdenum.
Their certified stocks of copper reserves are higher in comparison to other main producers. "This gives much life to our mines, but also lots of strength and confidence to our investors, because we have reserves for many years to come and in great condition," says Garcia de Quevedo, president of Minera Mexico.
Their mining operation represents 78 percent of the Group's revenue, the transportation division occupies 14 percent, and the rest is taken by the new infrastructure operation.
Global Sales by Product
The group’s current annual pension is 120,000 tons, divided into:
• Copper: 80 percent of their global sales.
• Silver: Seven percent of their global sales.
• Molybdenum: Six percent of their global sales.
• Zinc: Three percent of their global sales.
In the future they will increase copper sales in Asian markets, such as China, Japan, and Korea due to Asia’s percentage of copper consumption calculated at 64 percent of the worldwide purchase. Without neglecting their current markets, which are divided in: 47 percent of the copper is sold to United States, 30 percent of the copper is sold in Latin America (Mexico, Brazil, Peru, etc.), 15 percent goes to Europe and seven percent goes to Asia.
Grupo Mexico is going through a period of sustainable growth, with an increase of more than 60 percent in their production of copper at Buenavista del Cobre Mine (formerly Cananea), which translates into an annual production of 200,000 tons.
Grupo Mexico has two major concessions in the railroad loading business that annually generate more than $2 billion. These concessions cover 70 percent of the national territory; reached nine ports and five borders.
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They have focused their efforts on reducing costs, increasing productivity and saving energy.
In 2013, power generation plants of 150 megawatts of combined cycle were established in Sonora, mainly for self-consumption of Sonora’s operation of 600,000 tons annually.
Their new industrial equipment has improved productivity in mines, along with new advances in sandblasting treatment and GPS technology.
The innovative machinery is also more efficient in regards to power consumption and helps automate the processes; an example of this is the solvent extraction and electro-winning (SX/EW) used by Grupo Mexico.
Garcia de Quevedo indicates that Grupo Mexico holds an environmental discipline in all operations and has conducted several remediation programs.
Grupo Mexico is one of the biggest promoters of:
• Trees: The company plants two million trees in surrounding regions.
• Nurseries: By developing these lands they provide an economic benefit to nearby residents.
• Wind farm: To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increased their energy savings thanks to the establishment of a wind farm in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Through Grupo Mexico’s foundation they provide social support in eight community centers called “Casa Grande,” in Mexico and Peru. Within these centers education and self-improvement is promoted.
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The group believes in the continued development of their human resource, Garcia de Quevedo mentions: "A good worker can become a technician tomorrow, and even an engineer." They also created the degree of mining engineering in conjunction with the government and have included more women in their operations.
Facing the Future
Oil and gas: They are building four water drills. With this new addition, Grupo Mexico will have a fleet of seven ocean drills, positioning them as one of the most important companies for Pemex.
Infrastructure: In the process of finalizing a superhighway of high specification in the center of the country.
Energy: They will continue the consumption of renewable energy from their newly established wind farm of 74 mega watts in Oaxaca, Mexico. They will also supply wind energy to Cinemex (cinemas located in more than 300 locations nationwide).
Mining: They are developing an underground mine and are looking to continue the project “Tia Maria” after getting the social license to continue processing this mine.
By 2015 they will double their copper production to more than 500,000 tons in Buenavista del Cobre mine. "This increase in volume will help us be more efficient and productive," says Garcia de Quevedo.
Copper production from top ten companies to increase by 3.8%
Copper production from the world’s top companies is set to increase by up to 3.8% this year, following a fall of 0.2% in 2020, GlobalData analysis reveals. Last year’s marginal slump saw production drop to 11.76 million tonnes (Mt).
The initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mining operations was immense, however, six of the ten largest copper producers succeeded in increasing output last year. In 2021, copper production from the top ten copper companies is expected to bounce back, rising by up to 3.8%, to reach 12.2Mt, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
The highest increase in copper production was by Canada’s First Quantum, which, despite all the challenges, reported 10.4% growth in 2020. The company’s Sentinel mine in Zambia and Cobre Panama were key contributors to this growth. While the latter remained under care and maintenance between April and August 2020, it delivered record production levels during the subsequent months.
Codelco, the world’s largest producer of the red metal used in electric vehicles, also bucked the trend.
Vinneth Bajaj, Associate Project Manager at GlobalData, commented: “Despite Codelco reporting over 3,400 active cases during July 2020, the company achieved 1.2% growth in its production in 2020. The company implemented a four-phase plan, as part of the COVID-19 measures, to ensure the health and safety of its employees, while also avoiding any significant impact to its copper output.”
Although the overall impact was minimal, declines in production were observed from Glencore (8.2%), Antofagasta (4.7%), BHP (3.9%) and Freeport McMoRan (1.3%). Reduced operational workforces due to COVID-19 measures, lower ore grades and production halts due to maintenance were the key disruptors to output during 2020.
The move towards electric vehicles and clean energy from renewables sources such as solar panels and wind turbines has driven the copper price to all-time highs. Copper has been among the best performers over the last month where metals ranging from aluminum to iron ore have surged to their highest prices in years. The rally is being fueled by stimulus measures, near-zero interest rates and signs that economies are recovering from the global pandemic.