Mexico’s mining sector has lost more than $3.2bn in metals production due to strikes and has seen year-on-year investment drop by 26% to $2.7bn in 2009, the Mining Chamber of Mexico said.

According to the Chamber’s report, the results for 2009 were mixed with total production flat compared to last year at roughly $10.5bn.

In October 2009, mining employment dropped to 271,000 jobs compared to 291,000 jobs in 2008.

The mining sector, however, capitalised on the surge in gold prices and some price recovery for silver, zinc, copper and lead.

Workers at Grupo Mexico‘s Cananea copper mine, Sombrerete zinc mine and the Taxco silver mine have been on strike for the past 28 months.

Grupo Mexico is trying to attain court approval to terminate the collective contract and resume operations at the mines.

Mining Chamber of Mexico head Sergio Almazan Esqueda said the Mexican mining sector may fall from its position as the fourth most popular location for attracting international investment in the sector to the sixth.

“Last year, mining attracted 15% of Mexico’s total foreign investment and that figure could double in the short term if mining is promoted as a strategic, fundamental sector for promoting job creation, infrastructure and the overall economy,” Almazan said.