The 150% plummet that exports have suffered in the last two years is attributed to a fall in international prices of metals.
The fall in international prices of metals is the main reason behind the drop of almost 150% in foreign sales in the mining sector from 2015 to date. In the first half of 2015 the value of exports amounted to $256 million, while in the same period in 2016, it fell to $80.5 million, according to the Honduran Institute of Geology and Mines (Inhgeomin).
Companies in the sector point to the favorable geological conditions for this activity in the country and advocate that the suspension of concessions which has been in effect since 2009 be lifted.
Companies engaged in exploration and mining activities support their argument citing the new ways in which the activity now takes place, differentiating the artisanal mining techniques which were used in the past from those used in modern mining.
In one week seven projects were suspended and ten others could also suffer the same fate, while 611 license applications are under review.
Ten projects located in Santa Rosa, Quiché, San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, Totonicapan and Baja Verapaz are facing law suits for different reasons, from alleged violations of the human right to water to a breach of opposition administrative formalities.
A bill proposes the creation of a public mining company, which would be able to participate in concessions and form associations with other public or private companies.
Elnuevodiario.com.ni reports that "...Some of the functions that this law would have is to carry out feasibility analysis to set up mineral processing establishments in areas with mining potential, within concession areas; and market products derived from the exploitation of mineral resources. "
The Mining Exploitation Project Niquegua Montufar II, run by Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel, and the one called Tajmulco II, by Montana Exploradora de Guatemala, have been suspended by the government.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Energy and Mines indicates that "...Adhering to the appeal granted by the First Chamber of the Court of Appeals of the Civil and Commercial Branch constituted in the Court of Appeal, the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM), notified Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel (CGN), of the suspension of its authorization license for operating the mining exploitation project Niquegua Montufar II. "
The boom in housing construction does not compensate for the lack of new large projects that require stone, sand and cement produced from non-metallic mining.
An article on Panamaamerica.com.pa reports that "...The reduction in sales of the building materials they produce (stone, sand and cement) is remarkable, as pointed out by some members of the sector, a fact which is heavily affecting their income, to the point that some are thinking of giving up the activity. "
Mining companies anticipate good results for 2016, not only because of the expected improvement in international prices but also due to the dynamism of local construction.
Non-metallic mining is the category, in the view of representatives of the sector, which achieved the best performance this year because of the construction boom in the country, which is demanding ever more limestone, sand and other essential materials used for building.
On August 16 and 17 industry representatives from around the globe will be taking part in business conferences and lectures on the role of mineral resources and the impact of the activity on the economy.
The II International Mining Congress is being organized by the Mining Chamber of Nicaragua and will be held on August 16 and 17 in Managua.
..After a year without having approved any new concessions, the government has announced plans to start processing them from 2016, but only for non-metallic mining.
The review of applications and their possible approval will start in early 2016, when the Ministry of Trade and Industry expects regulations on the new law to be ready. The Vice Minister, Manuel Grimaldo, explained that "... the grants to be awarded will be for non metal extractions and metal ones will remain suspended."
On November 12nd and 13th Panama City Latin American mining companies will be gathering together in Panama City to address the challenges and opportunities for the industry in Central America.
The Mining Chamber of Panama is organizing the event, in conjunction with the Latin American Mining Organization (Olami), called the First International Mining Congress, which will focus on the challenges and opportunities of mining activities in Central America.
Entrepreneurs in the sector point out that delays in granting licenses for mining constitute a virtual moratorium, preventing investment and encouraging illegal mining.
In the view of representatives of the sector, "... 'The fact that new concessions are not granted, unfortunately, is a de facto moratorium '... " said Zorel Morales, president of the Mining Chamber of Panama (Camipa).
The miners of construction aggregates oppose the increase of 1% to 10% on mining royalties and propose that the tax should be proportional to the volume and type of material extracted.
The Mining Association of Guatemala (AMG) wants royalties to remain at 10% for gold and silver, while for limestone, sand, plaster and other building materials for them to be reduced to 3%, negotiable.
Conflicts over environmental protection and excessive bureaucracy in the process of granting concessions are the factors that limit the great mining potential in the region.
The mining sector in Central America represents great potential for investment and business, however, it has so far contributed only 0.75% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), averaged from the six countries in the region, between 2008 and 2012. Costa Rica reported the lowest activity with 0.1% and Panama the highest with 1.7% of GDP.
The Canadian company B2Gold will be extending exploration activities in the La Libertad gold mine for seven years and operating six other projects in other parts of the country.
The process of conversion of the La Libertad gold mine, initiated by the Canadian B2Gold and which currently extracts between 140,000 and 150,000 troy ounces of gold a year, will continue for seven years, according to statements made by company representatives.
Constructora Celaque is a leader when it comes to construction of civil projects and mining in Honduras with more than 15 years of experience.
Operates in Honduras and Honduras
Phone: (504) 2239 6794 - (504) 9905 7845
Armstrong Equipment, Inc. is an American based company that specializes in the distribution to Latin America of equipment and parts used in the mining sector, rock crushing and asphalt paving.
Operates in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama
Phone: (305) 592 8361