Honduras - Mining
The mineral resources of Honduras consisted of cadmium, cement, coal, copper, gold, gypsum, lead, limestone, marble, pozzolan, rhyolite, salt, silver, and zinc, a leading export commodity. Inadequate transportation continued to hamper full development of mineral resources. In the mid-1990s, the El Mochito Mine, in Santa Bárbara, was the country's only large operating base metal mine. The mine reported record high production in 2001. Its owner, though, lost $111.06 million, because of record low zinc prices. By the end of 2001, the mine's proven and probable reserves stood at 3.4 million tons at an average grade of 6.8% zinc, 1.9% lead, and 78 grams per ton of silver; this was an 18% increase over 2000. Lead and zinc concentrates from the mine contributed less than 2% to GDP, which grew 5% in 2001, with the completion of reconstruction from Hurricane Mitch. Under 0.3% of the labor force was employed in the mining sector. First Point Minerals continued exploring the Cacamuya gold-silver project, and Maya Gold continued exploring the Los Lirios gold-copper porphyry deposits and the Los Coyotes deposit.
Between 1882 and 1954, the New York and Honduras Rosario Mining Co., the oldest in the republic, produced over $60 million worth of gold and silver from the Rosario mines, near Tegucigalpa. By the mid-1960s, these mines became virtually nonproductive; a mine situated west of Lake Yojoa, however, has remained active. As of 1997, the San Andres Mine, southwest of San Pedro de Sula—the second largest in Honduras—had not reached full production. In 2001, production of zinc was 48,485 tons, up from 31,095 in 1999; lead output was 3,775 tons; silver, 35,000 kg; gold, 880 kg, up from 150 in 1998; and limestone, 1.23 million tons, up from 450,000 in 1998.