06/08/2008 - 22:00

Prospects rising in Mexico

06/08/2008 - 22:00

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Perth-based mining explorer and developer Azure Minerals Ltd has found a wealth of opportunities in Mexico, currently holding 22 base and precious metals mining projects in the region.

LOCAL PRESENCE: Anthony Rovira says Mexico is a prosperous region for mining.

Perth-based mining explorer and developer Azure Minerals Ltd has found a wealth of opportunities in Mexico, currently holding 22 base and precious metals mining projects in the region.

Azure has been involved in the area for about three years and the company's executive chairman, Anthony Rovira, says the combination of a resource-rich region and a supportive Mexican government has led to strong recent developments.

"From a geology point of view and a mining point of view it is a very richly mineralised region," Mr Rovira said.

"There's been mining there for well over 500 years and it's a very well endowed mineral province. You've got a large variety of different styles of mineralisation and different commodities...so from the prospective (nature) of the area and its suitability for mining, it's world class.

"It's very supportive actually [the government]. The mines department over there is very good and very helpful."

With Azure one of only two Australian companies involved in the mining industry in Mexico, Mr Rovira said meeting local legal requirements to start and proceed with projects was fairly simple.

"In terms of the mining law over there it's very simple and straight forward. Also, in terms of the environmental approval process it's very straight forward and transparent, and we've come across no problems at all."

When Azure identified the potential of base and precious metal prospects in Mexico, it took the step of creating a local office, helping to establish the business name and reputation in the region.

"We have an office set up over there and they work for our Mexican subsidiary; we have five geologists plus administration and support staff working for us," Mr Rovira told WA Business News.

"Having a local office has given us a real benefit. Firstly we're on the ground 100 per cent of the time and we're able to carry out our exploration duties year round.

"Secondly, because we have a base and presence there, we're being approached by local individuals, prospectors and companies offering us opportunities for joint ventures or sales to buy projects."

With local law stating that an international company must establish a Mexican company or a joint venture with an existing local business in order to mine in the area, Azure created its 100 per cent owned subsidiary Minera Piedra Azul SA de CV.

The group now runs nine wholly owned sites, alongside 13 joint ventures, with each site carefully selected and needing to meet criteria set by the business.

"We're looking for properties that have evidence of mineralisation on them. So that includes historical resources or mineralised drill intercepts, mineralisation visible at the surface where you can take surface samples and find high grade values, old mine workings and that sort of thing," Mr Rovira said.

"Having our own geologists working for us over there...they've all got experience with other companies and other areas, so we're able to identify prospective areas through our local people as well."

Despite a strong demand for staff within the industry, finding local staff was easier than back home in Australia.

"It's not like what we've got here in Australia. In the mineral industry over there its full employment, pretty well, in terms of geo scientists, there's not a large pool of them looking for work, however it's not as drastically short as it is here."

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