Cordilleran Section - 113th Annual Meeting - 2017

Paper No. 3-8
Presentation Time: 11:25 AM


AMEZCUA, Natalia, Mexican Geological Survey, Blvd. Felipe Ángeles km. 93.50-4, Col. Venta Prieta, Pachuca, Hidalgo, 42083, Mexico,

Exploration and exploitation of Marine Minerals in México is a new and challenging frontier. Identifying mineral occurrences in the Mexican part of the North Pacific Ocean is the initial stage to assessing the potential offshore strategic and critical materials.

The Mexican Geological Survey is integrating a database in a geographic information system, using available public information with the aim of generating the first map with first order zonation of marine mineral occurrences within National jurisdiction.

Mineral deposits in México are diverse and mainly land-based, although also located in coastal, shallow marine, and deep-ocean areas. Currently, around 146 mining claims occur along the coast and marine areas, exploiting salt and other evaporites (72), phosphates (8), and coastal to shallow-marine heavy-mineral deposits (66); which represent 0.5% of the national mining claims.

In National jurisdiction has documented sites with mineral occurrences, including 92 for phosphates, 2 for polymetallic sulphides, 28 with polymetallic nodules, and 8 sites containing ferromanganese crusts. Records of 17 hydrothermal vents of which 12 are located directly on ridge segments (16°, 17° and 21° N) along both the north sector of the East Pacific Rise and the spreading ridges of the Gulf of California, showing the presence of seafloor massive sulphides (SMS) of high and low temperatures (LTH) types, together with one near-field metalliferous sediment (NFS).

From a preservation perspective and sustainable deep-ocean ecosystems, in December 2016 the Marine Biosphere Reserve of the Deep Pacific was declared. It comprises an area of about 577,862 km2, accounting for 24.5% of the Mexico Exclusive Economic Zone in the North Pacific Ocean. Here polymetallic nodules, hydrothermal vents, seamounts, and marine ridges have been identified. It is also an important reference region, adjacent to the mineral claims for polymetallic nodules granted by the International Seabed Authority in the Clarion Clipperton Zone.

Despite data limitations, these initial maps may serve as a baseline, contributing in the near future to assess commercially exploitable marine mineral deposits of México.