Controversial Morena Senator Napoleón Gómez took another step yesterday in his objective to modify the Mining Law of Mexico, contributing an article titled “It is urgent to restructure the mining industry” to the La Jornada newspaper. Two weeks ago, the Senator had declared to Bloomberg his intentions to regulate the law “according to the interests of the country, not the companies that have benefited for years,” who, in his opinion, do not pay adequate taxes, yet enjoy concessions that he considers are too long. His final goal is to position the mining sector at the same level as “the great historical purposes of the Fourth Transformation.”
According to Gómez, the Mexican government has lost control over mining concessions over the years, which in his opinion has translated into “problems related to environmental pollution and respect for the rights of the regions, the communities, the ejidos and the indigenous areas where the mining developments are based.” The senator’s mission has received mixed responses from the Mexican mining sector, an industry that, according to Forbes, maintains 46 open conflicts in the country, the highest number in Latin America.
Gómez had already announced these proposals on Jan. 14, when he declared, among other issues, that the industry should contribute more to government revenues. “We are looking at the cancellation terms for a concession and its extension, because 50, 100 years is too long,” he added. These statements, collected by Bloomberg, caused the fall in the value of the shares of Grupo México and Industrias Peñoles, two of the largest companies in the country.
Gómez, an important and influential union leader, won his seat in the Senate after a 10-year period of self-exile in Canada, after being accused of embezzling US$55 million from Grupo México workers. His election caused Germán Larrea, owner of the mining operator, to speak out against him, an unprecedented event for the typically low-profile Mexican businessman.