Mexico's First Female CEO in Mining
Transforming the Mining Industry
As pioneers of the mining industry in the state of Sinaloa, Cia. Minera Pangea has surpassed many challenges to establish a source of income to the company, especially in a town where businesses and government culture were derived from agricultural sources. In 2007, the company’s administration experienced significant changes, with the appointment of Euridice Gonzalez as the new general manager in August, 2007. Gonzalez became one of the first females to hold the highest executive position in the sector.
"We decided to develop this site, and as a result, the company grew and it became feasible to open another mine," says Gonzalez, recalling the discovery of silver in the vicinity of the gold mine.
Given the increase in metal prices in 2011, the mining industry expanded, providing accelerated operations to Pangea with a new silver deposit and the revival of gold. By mid-2012, Gonzalez took over as country manager for McEwen Mining Inc., in Mexico. This period included an investment of 15 million dollars for the purchase of new equipment, the introduction of detailed engineering and the reopening of El Gallo phase I. Another $180 million was invested into the development of El Gallo, “we are working on reducing this capital expenditure,” says Gonzales .
Currently, they are exploring the site for mineral reserves, expanding production and remodeling their gridding minerals system.
"We want to increase our production capacity to 4,500 tons per day. We will soon reach the goal with a lower budget and a better delivery time," says González.
A Female Leader in the Mining Sector
Euridice Gonzalez was the first female leader in the mining industry in Mexico. For Gonzalez, this appointment made it clear that women have no limits. As a high-level executive in a position that requires major responsibility, she has shown that individuals should not be cloistered or limited to certain activities based on their gender.
"When I started working in here as Operations Assistant, the manager told me I was going to grow in the company. Now I know we have to change our focus and think that everything is possible," she adds.
Gonzalez has achieved many objectives as country manager; one of those is a joint collaboration with their competitors to form the association “Consejo Minero Empresarial A.C.,” of which she is currently president. Finally, she emphasized that it is essential to know the mining sector and their contributions in the Mexican economy.
Lithium producers bullish as EV revolution ramps demand
Rising demand for lithium is stoking prices for the electric vehicle battery metal, fueling long-delayed expansions that still may not produce adequate supplies that automakers need to meet aggressive production plans.
Growing industry optimism from higher lithium prices is a change from last year when funding for mines and processing plants dried up during the pandemic.
Albemarle Corp, Livent Corp and other producers are scrambling to make more lithium, but some analysts worry the recent price jump will not spur a big enough expansion to meet a planned wave of new EV models by mid-decade.
Since January, General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation Co, along with other automakers and battery parts manufacturers, have said they will spend billions of dollars on EV plants.
U.S. President Joe Biden has proposed spending $174bn to boost EV sales and infrastructure. The European Union has similar plans, part of a rush to catch up with global EV leader China.
Those moves have helped an index of lithium prices jump 59 percent since April 2020, according to data from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a commodity pricing provider.
The rising demand “reflects what feels like a real and fundamental turning point in our industry,” said Paul Graves, chief executive of Livent Corp, which supplies Tesla Inc. On Monday, it said it would more than double its annual lithium production to 115,000 tonnes.
Graves warned, though, that “it will be a challenge for the lithium industry to produce sufficient qualified material in the near and medium term.”
Albemarle, the world’s largest lithium producer, aims to double its production capacity to 175,000 tonnes by the end of the year when two construction projects are complete. Albemarle's Q1 profit beat expectations thanks to rising lithium prices. Chile’s SQM, the No. 2 producer, said its goal to expand production of lithium carbonate by 71 percent to 120,000 tonnes should be complete by December.
Australia’s Orocobre is paying $1.4 billion for smaller rival Galaxy Resources, a strategy designed to boost scale and help it grow faster in regions closer to customers.
“The next few years are going to be critical in terms of whether there’s enough available lithium supply, and that’s why you’re starting to see commodity prices start to ramp,” said Chris Berry, an independent lithium industry consultant.
The price gains helped Albemarle and other major producers, including China’s Ganfeng Lithium Co and SQM, post big gains in first-quarter profit and boost forecasts for the year.
Even China’s Tianqi Lithium Corp, saddled with debt due to years of low lithium prices, signaled that recovering demand should help it swing to a profit this year.
Forecasts call for demand for the white metals to surge from about 320,000 tonnes annually last year to more than 1 million tonnes annually by 2025, when many automakers plan to launch new EV fleets, according to Benchmark.
Still, demand is expected to outstrip supply in 2025 by more than 200,000 tonnes, so lithium prices may need to rise to encourage producers to build more mines. That could boost the prices consumers pay for EVs. “Companies across the lithium-ion supply chain are in the best position they’ve been in for the last 5 years,” said Pedro Palandrani of the Global X Lithium & Battery Technology ETF , which has doubled in value in the past year.