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MEXICO - Energy & Mining

Carlos Silva

CEO, Santacruz Silver Mining

Bio

Carlos Silva Ramos studied mining engineering in the University of Guanajuato and received a master’s in finance from ITESM. He founded Carrizal Mining in 2009 and is now CEO of Santacruz Silver, after completing a successful merger in 2019. Santacruz Silver operates in Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí.

“With Bolivia and Mexico, we expect to see additional growth over the next four years.”
Santacruz Silver Mining has seen great success in its mines in Bolivia and Mexico and is now working on building up its profile and gaining recognition globally.
What differences do you see between the mining industries in Mexico and the rest of Latin America?

When it comes to human talent, Mexico has a significant advantage over Latam, though on the issue of legal certainty, countries such as Bolivia are better. Here, there is a strong degree of uncertainty; we do not know what will happen tomorrow. The difference is huge. Otherwise, they are all the same; we have excellent laws, and the technology is the same. The type of mining and the method of exploitation are also similar. Bolivia and Mexico’s geologies are remarkably similar, though the potential there is greater. In Bolivia, there is much yet to be discovered. Here, everyone has their little piece. There is a great deal of industry here, and it has grown significant in recent years in terms of investment. Bolivia offers great potential, and there are many possibilities for excellent grades, even for minerals. There are copper possibilities there, though the regulations must be amended to allow exploration.

What steps is the company taking to maintain profits?

Our profits are impressive due to the acquisition in Bolivia. Companies can develop more through acquisition. We are focusing on three axes, starting in Bolivia. Strategically speaking, we are focusing on the safety and well-being of the people, productivity in all operations, and growth—not only in production but also in people, communities, our families, and the entire company. We are currently implementing in Bolivia what we have done in Mexico to be a model of socioeconomic recovery that focuses on both business and social. We also work in communities and have great relationships. Wherever we go, we must respect and assist the locals because these are their customs and beliefs. Both the laws that safeguard them and the ones that safeguard us must be followed.

Regarding the issue of production, what investments have been made to put these Bolivian mines’ capabilities into practice?

As an investment, we are releasing the planned investments to renew some equipment; however, everything else is focused on increasing efficiency in the processes, such as reviewing all the activities and marking the priorities. In Mexico, we are also investing in growth, though right now we are already reaching our capacity. We will continue to expand or explore our deposit in order to ensure solid production and maintain business as usual.

What further markets are you aiming to conquer?

We have been expanding lately, and this is likely to continue. With Bolivia and Mexico, we expect to see additional growth over the next four years. The two operations that arrived need to be precisely optimized. The best price for each mining must be guaranteed, and we will continue to monitor opportunities in 2023. There is potential in Peru, though it is a politically complicated country with a traditional mining sector where we could explore something else. By acquiring operations that are working, we get to optimize them. If we start with exploration, it may take longer, and we will have to spend more money on it. In terms of exploration, we will invest in Mexico, specifically in Zimapan, and Bolivia. Our equipment is better suited to expanding our current explorations. In Bolivia, we have a mine that we could put into operation in the medium term. The project is done for now, and we are conducting feasibility studies.

What are the primary goals of Santacruz Silver Mining?

The goal is to keep expanding. We also want the proper credit for our efforts because they are not being reflected. In 3Q2022, we generated 4.8 million ounces of silver equivalent, which is an important number in the region. There are many other companies that are more famous but produce less than us. Therefore, we want to work on gaining recognition from the stock market so that Santa Cruz receives the value it merits and can provide fair dividends to its shareholders.

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