More important, at least in regards to exports, is the mineral wealth of Mexico, which always supplied enormous quantities of precious metals and in particular silver. In the past century, due to internal unrest, the work of the mines was neglected and the annual production decreased, but following the mining laws of 1887 and 1892 which allowed the intervention of foreign companies, the production of precious metals resumed with upward pace and not only new deposits were exploited, but many old mines were also reactivated, thanks to the introduction of new, more advanced and rational methods.
However, a shift of the mining centers to the north-west is noted, and while in the colonial period the center of mining was located in the states of Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Mexico, Puebla, S. Luis Potosí, etc., in more recent times a head of production we find Sonora, Chihuahua, Nayarit, Baja California, Durango and Sinaloa, etc.
Among the minerals silver always holds the first place, of which Mexico is the largest producer in the world, significantly surpassing the United States. The Mexican production, which was kg. 2,023,418 in 1905, rose in 1924 to kg. 2,844,104 and to kg. 3,386,359 in 1929, but it dropped to kg. 2,155,613 in 1932. Silver is found in large quantities throughout northwestern and central Mexico, and particularly famous are the wonderful veins of the Veta Madre of Guanajuato and the Veta Grande of Zacatecas. The first place among the silver producing states belongs to Hidalgo, especially the municipalities of Pachuca and Real del Monte, followed by Chihuahua with the mines of Santa Bárbara, Santa Eulalia and Hidalgo del Parral.
According to sportsqna, the production of gold is also noteworthy, which is around an average of 20,000 kg. annually, so Mexico is in 4th place after southern Africa, the United States and Canada. Gold, which comes especially from quartz rocks and alluvial deposits, but is more often found in the company of silver, copper and other metals, is produced by the state of Mexico, where the famous district of El Oro is located. from Hidalgo, where gold is extracted together with silver, from Michoacán and Chihuahua.
Copper follows in importance, supplied for the most part by Sonora (Cananea and Pilaras districts) and by Baja California (Boleo mines) and by Zacatecas, with an average production in the five-year period 1927-31 of 60 thousand tons per year, reduced to 35 thousand tons. in 1932.
Lead and zinc have also seen their production grow in the last five years with a respective average of 160,000 and 245,000 tons, but zinc in 1932 declined to 57,000 and lead to 137,000 tons.
The iron and steel industry has gradually developed in recent years, especially thanks to the Sociedad fundidora de hierro y acero of Monterrey, which works the iron taken from Cerro del Mercado, not far from the city of Durango (huge mass of hematite of the highest content), and which in 1929 produced 60 thousand tons. of cast iron, 100 thousand tons. of steel and 84 thousand tons. of drawn items.
Foreign companies and capital contribute to the production of the most important metals, especially North American and British, as it appears from the following mirror which shows the percentage data for 1924:
Overall, Mexico ranks first in world production of silver, 4th place in gold, 6th place for copper and 2nd place for lead and zinc.
The trend of Mexican production of the most important metals in the five-year period 1928-32, according to official data from the Department of Statistics, is the following (in tons):
Over the past two decades, the oil industry developed rapidly and now supplies the main export item. The history of the exploration and exploitation of oil deposits is connected with that of world industry and especially with the intervention in Mexico of large companies such as Standard Oil Co. and Royal Dutch-Shell. The oil searches had started as far back as 1868, when the Texas oilmen tried to widen their field along the Mexican coast and the first Mexican oil was obtained in the Campo de Furbero in the area between Veracruz and Tuxpán, but only in 1901 the production began. to assume considerable proportions when the discovery of important deposits at El Ébano, near Tampico, began a more intense and active period of research. Numerous companies were set up with essentially North American and English capital and wells were drilled not only in Tampico, but throughout the lower valley of the Río Pánuco and then in the area of the Tehuantepec isthmus. In 1911 Mexico produced 12,532,798 barrels of oil, reaching the third place after the United States and Russia, and in 1921 with 193 million barrels it surpassed Russia. After 1921, production decreased following the conflict that arose between the major companies (subsidiaries of world trusts) and the Mexican government, which with the constitution of 1917 had proclaimed that oil, like other mineral wealth, was owned by the state and had therefore affirmed its right to regulate and control production even in the concessions previously made.
The currently exploited Mexican oil fields include: a) the area of Río Pánuco (Tampico) with the centers of El Ébano, El Limón, Cacalicao, Salinas, Caracol, Pánuco, etc.; b) the area between Don Bocas and Tuxpán which includes among other centers the famous Faja de oro, famous for the exceptional production of its wells; c) the area of the Tehuantepec isthmus where the company El Aquila, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch, is particularly active ; d) the Tabasco-Chiapas area with the centers, still in the research phase, of Sarlat, Palenque, Caimba, Belem, etc.
The exploited oil fields do not exceed 6000 hectares, while, according to the studies carried out, at least one and a half million hectares are classified as oil deposits and as many as 60 million hectares are considered as probable oil fields. From 1901 to all of 1932 the total production was 1,665,261,179 barrels divided as follows: