Every year The New York Times selects the top places readers should travel to. Puebla, Mexico, a city especially noted for its historical significance and culinary offerings, has earned the thirteenth spot on this famed travel list of places to go in 2012. …
Located in East-Central Mexico, Puebla is about a two hour drive from Mexico’s capital, Mexico City. Puebla is a city overflowing with fascinating architecture and in-tact colonial relics that demonstrates the city’s pride in history and adds to its overall appeal.
The city is known for widely celebrating Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the occasion of the Mexican army defeating the French troops of Napoléon in 1862. May 5, 2012 will mark the 150th anniversary of this holiday, during which Puebla will celebrate with a grand fiesta. In preparation for this celebration, the city is conducting renovations that include building a light rail line and redecorating public spaces.
For travelers looking to sample mole poblano in Mexico, Puebla is said to be the origin of the famous mole poblano dish. As a testament to the heritage of the dish and to raise awareness of the city’s culinary profile, Puebla will be hosting its first annual international mole festival this May.
Lone Star Gold, Inc. is thrilled to announce that the company will move forward with signing a Definitive Agreement to acquire an undivided 65 percent interest in the San Antonio del Potrero mine tailings project. The agreement will be signed at the beginning of January 2012. …
A letter of intent committing to acquiring an undivided 65 percent interest on the Tailings Project, located in the city of Hidalgo Del Parral in Chihuahua, Mexico, was originally signed on 28 November 2011. The project represents a resource of 1.2 million tons of mine tailings which shows potential for Silver recovery and additional bi-products including Gold, Zinc, and Lead.
The President of Lone Star, Daniel Ferris, was looking forward to the opportunity. He said that the opportunity was a great fit for the company and aligned well with the company’s goal of rapidly becoming a mid-tier producer in the short term. After the Definitive Agreement is signed in mid-January, the company will be in a great position to begin 6-8 years of production as soon as February 2012.
The Definitive Agreement details how a total of 600,000 shares of Lone Star’s common stock will be incrementally transferred over a one-year period. The shares will carry current and appropriate legends in accordance with U.S. Securities laws. The agreement also outlines the cash commitments for initial and secondary project work/equipment/plant construction for the first two years. After the processing of the project’s estimated 1.2 million tons of mine tailings have been processed, Lone Star will forfeit its 65 percent interest in the Mexican company. This will release Lone Star from any further obligations with the project.
The project is estimated to have 1.2 million tons of mine tailings from previous activities over the past century. An agreement is in place to take 100 tons per day to a processing plant 20 minutes away in Parral for the first 4-6 months of the project. After the initial 4-6 months, throughput is likely to be increased to over 200 tpd for the remainder of the year.
While in the midst of building the $1 billion Boleo copper-cobalt-zinc project, Baja Mining said that it was in search of a manganese buyer willing to sign an off take agreement. The company is in discussions with a number of potential buyers. …
Manganese, used in steel making, has been unaccounted for in the economic outlines of Boleo until now. In 2010, Baja Mining only considered copper, cobalt, and zinc production. Without the manganese, the company expects to produce 84 million pounds of copper, 3.6 million pounds of cobalt, and 28,400 tons of zinc a year for a total mine life of 23 years. Baja Mining suggested it could fetch a $1.3 billion net present value and estimated a favorable cost of production of negative $0.29 per pound of copper, net of zinc and cobalt credits.
The production of manganese could lower production costs even more. A production study, to be released in the third quarter of this year, will determine by how much manganese helps the base case.
The manganese could potential end up making a large portion of the project’s output.
A research team suggested that Baja Mining could produce around 220,000 tons of manganese carbonate a year at Boleo.
While Mexico produces and exports solar panels and photovoltaic cells, the country has not previously explored using solar energy, a form of alternative energy, to generate electricity at home. However, this will soon be changing.
In light of depleting oil reserves, talk of solar energy in Mexico is heating up, as the nation examines the potential for drawing energy from the sun. According to National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the government will fund a project aimed at estimating Mexico’s potential for using solar energy, to see if the sun can fulfill its growing energy demands.
To carry out the research, personnel from UNAM will calibrate solar sensors installed at the Mexican meteorological service's 133 automated weather-monitoring stations.
According to UNAM researcher Mauro German Valdes, setting the sensors to the same specifications will make it possible to recalculate the last decade's worth of readings from the stations, thereby creating a central database.
"We will have systematized information from different parts of the country that will be useful for industry, physicists, architects and biologists, among others," Valdes said.
Just ahead of the New Year, Mexican Energy Secretariat, Jordy Herrera Flores, has announced that starting January 1, there will be a new program that aims to save electricity in and around the Guadalajara area. In short, the program can be described as an awareness campaign on the use of Light… Emitting Diode (LED), which aims to alleviate the impacts of climate change. Speaking in accordance with President Felipe Calderon, Flores stresses the importance of saving this energy source in Mexico. To join the list of beneficiaries, you must be an active member and make payments to the Commission Federal de Electricidad (CFE).
The first stock of LED driving lamps technology will be $10,000, and will aim to save up to 200 gigawatt hours per year.
By 2012, Mexico hopes that 25 percent of the energy consumed will be generated by renewable sources. By 2025, the measures currently being implemented will save up to 37,000 megawatt hours.
The Mexican Stock Exchange recently launched its own Sustainability Index, the third of its kind in the world. Together with the Dow Jones Sustainability and FTSE 4Good indices, the Mexican Sustainability Index will allow member companies to realize an additional equity value as they implement sustainability… practices across their organizations. Also, through the Sustainability Index, member firms will support Mexico’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in 2020.
In an exclusive video interview with MexicoToday, the Mexican Stock Exchange’s president Luiz Tellez Kuenzler shared, “The Sustainability Index puts the Mexican Stock Exchange at the level of the most important exchanges in the world. It is the first time we have had the sustainability process for Mexican companies implemented in the exchange, and puts Mexico in the forefront of the most important changes that are taking place in the financial sector.” When asked about what’s next following its launch, Tellez Kuenzler added, “We will have an ETF for the Index and those investors who are interested in investing in Mexican sustainability companies will be able to do that.”
The Mexican Sustainability Index is currently made up of by 26 companies, including Alfa, America Movil, Arca Continental, Bio Pappel, Cemex, Coca-Cola FEMSA, Compartamos, Controladora Comercial Mexicana, Casas GEO, Desarrolladora Homex, Empresas ICA, OMA, Kimberly-Clark de México, Aeropuertos del Sureste (ASUR), Mexichem, Organizacion Soriana, FEMSA, Industrias Peñoles, Grupo Financiero Banorte, Grupo Herdez, Grupo Bimbo, Grupo Modelo, Grupo Mexico, TV Azteca, Vitro, and Wal-Mart Mexico.
Member firms are evaluated by two fully-independent qualifying institutions, including EIRIS Empowerment Responsible Investment, which is headquartered in London and has a deep background with the FTSE Sustainability Index. The second institution is the South Anahuac University, a Mexican educational leader that participated in the development of the Index. And as part of the qualification process, member firms comply with international standards set by institutions such as the United Nations, the World Bank, and ISO14000, among others.
By 2015, Mexican mining company Grupo Mexico expects output at the Buenavista del Cobre copper mine to increase by 475,000 tons per year. Chief Operating Officer Xavier Garcia de Quevedo made the announcement in early December 2011. The new estimate has increased 6 percent since the last Mexican mining… industry estimate made in April 2011. If the new estimate were to become reality, it would double the current annual output.
“The mine has come back in great form,” Garcia de Quevedo said at a briefing in Mexico City.
In April, Grupo Mexico saw an increase of 450,000 tons per year at the Buenavista mine. The annual output rose to about 188,000 tons. Garcia de Quevedo believed that prices remained high because there were no new projects. Copper fell 20 percent in February, but rose to 18 percent in October.
The Buenavista mine near the U.S.-Mexico border had closed due to a mining strike in July 2007. It cost Grupo Mexico $3.5 billion in losses. However, the mine re-opened last year after a court order ended the mining strike. Damages caused by shortages in labor will cost Grupo Mexico more than $100 million to repair. The money will be well spent, as Buenavista is believed to have enough copper to remain in production for the next 70 years.
Mexico based Grupo Bimbo, Latin America’s biggest producer of baked goods, announced its acquisition of the U.S.-based Sara Lee Corporation bakery business in Spain and Portugal in October 2011. Grupo Bimbo completed the acquisition for 115 million euros ($153 million). …
Acquired brands included Bimbo, Silueta, Oritz, Martinex, and Eagle. The company will also take on seven manufacturing plants. The plants employ 1,900 people and facilitate commerce on more than 800 distribution routes.
“This acquisition positions Grupo Bimbo as the leading branded bread company on the Iberian Peninsula and enhances the Company’s international growth with a strong and established bakery business,” the company said in a statement.
In addition to the newly acquired Spain and Portugal units, Grupo Bimbo has 108,000 employees, manufactures more than 7,000 products, operates 102 plants, and organizes more than 1,000 distribution centers across 17 centuries in the Americas and Asia. The North American Sara Lee Corporation Fresh Bakery Unit had already been sold to Grupo Bimbo for $709 million.
Mexico recently broke their own Guinness world record in December 2011 by using 2,753 telescopes to observe the moon simultaneously. The record was broken at the Reto Mexico 2011 (Mexico Challenge 2011). The challenge was part of the “Night of the Stars” festival. Astronomy enthusiasts… broke the previous record of 1,042 telescopes set in October 2009.
Thousands of Mexicans in more than 100 cities used both homemade and automatically controlled telescopes to observe the moon in its fourth quarter. Organizers meet in Cholula, Puebla, to count all of the telescopes. Organizers included Mexico’s National Autonomous University, the Mexican Academy of Science, the French Embassy, and the National Polytechnic Institute. All types of telescopes – from wooden to professional – could be seen in the Cholula, Puebla.
The star gazing was not just limited to participants. Thousands of people visited the sites where participants had set up telescopes to observe the moon. Even though the record was broken, organizers were not able to meet the original goal of gathering 5,000 participating telescopes for the event. Regardless, organizers hope this event will spark an interest in astronomy, a Mexican pastime dating back to the ascent of the study of Mayan astronomy.
Despite economic unrest in both Europe and the United States, foreign investors have sought alternative methods of investment in Mexico… during the first nine months of the year. During the first three quarters of 2011, Mexico’s central bank stated that a record $24.1 billion was invested in the government fixed income market. That is an increase from the previous record of $23.1 billion investment mark set last year. According to Mexican Government officials, it remains to be seen if this upward trend will continue.
Increased investment in Mexican bonds is one of several positive economic data points that demonstrate Mexico is recovering from the global recession. In September, Mexican industrial production grew 3.6 percent over the same month the previous year. Furthermore, Mexico has the lowest tax burden among the most developed economies in the world, according to a recent report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In its annual report, OECD detailed the tax burdens in place during 2010. The report shows that Mexico has the lowest tax to GDP ratio at 18.7 percent.
Whether traveling to Mexico City for business or pleasure, there are five restaurants that are among the many that all visitors should consider. An increased level of sophistication is what contemporary Mexican cuisine is all about. In this sense, the following are considered some of the best… restaurants in Mexico City, because they boast an outstanding commitment to quality, innovation, and detail, topped off with a true passion for Mexican cooking.
Dulce Patria, for instance, is Mexican avant-garde cuisine founded by the renowned chef, Martha Ortiz Chapa, who also assists in the kitchens of Barroco and the Dulce Patria of Las Alcobas Hotel. This restaurant stands out for its delicious recipes and impeccable preparation that is said to “summarize and sometimes exceed the imagination of Mexicans.” Amaranta is host to the best cuisine that can be found in the city of Toluca, considered the economic center of Mexico, where Chef Pablo Salas opened the doors of the restaurant at the same time that Mexico was celebrating Mexican Independence Day and the centenary of the Mexican Revolution (2010). Its statement is to celebrate the rich cuisine of the 125 municipalities of the State of Mexico. To achieve that, Pablo Salas elaborates popular recipes with the latest techniques. At Azul Condesa, Ricardo Muñoz whips up what could be considered purest of contemporary Mexican cuisine, since he focuses on recreating traditional dishes that are derived from regional cuisine festivals that he organizes. One of his most representative recipes is a fritter stuffed with roast duck and bathed in Oaxacan black mole sauce. Merotoro is a restaurant located in Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California and is owned by Gabriela Cámara, owner of Contramar, a successful seafood restaurant in Mexico City. Merotoro has acquired the talent of chef Jair Téllez, whose culinary creations include seafood and meats, artisan beers, as well as a broad selection of olive oils. However, it is rumored that the best part of Merotoro is being able to enjoy your meal enveloped by the light fragrance of the surrounding orchard.
Paxia is a unique restaurant because it offers two different locations in Mexico City: one situated in the San Ángel area and the other in the financial district of Santa Fe (inside the NH hotel). Here, Chef Daniel Ovadia offers an extensive wine list and 32 different types of mezcal, the traditional Aztec beverage, accompanied by new creations such as pork rinds lasagna in green sauce or chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese in xoconostle sauce.
Many different things can be said about each of them, but what all five of these top restaurants in Mexico City share is a common interest in passing on and preserving the culinary traditions of Mexico.
Photo courtesy of ProMexico.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde said in an interview that Brazil, Mexico and Peru have done remarkably well improving their economies over the past few years and can provide some lessons to other advanced countries.
The IMF chief has very specific ideas on how other economically stressed countries can benefit from the Latin American model. The chief explained that lessons “such as saving for a rainy day, and making sure that risks in the banking system are under control…I believe Latin America is now on a firm foundation, and can look ahead to lasting prosperity and stability that can lift the living standards of all.”
Lagarde identified social inclusion as one of the many factors behind the region’s recent economic progress, as issues of poverty, inequality, and human development have improved dramatically over the past decade.
Mexico’s Oportunidades programs have enjoyed particular success in breaking the intergenerational transmission of poverty—so much so that they are now models for the rest of the world.
“These countries have harvested the fruits of strong fundamentals, sound policy frameworks, and prudent macroeconomic policies and are now enjoying sustained growth with reduced vulnerabilities—an enviable sweet spot,” he added.
Lagarde went on to explain that Mexico in particular, is a country “in a unique position to shape our collective economic destiny over the coming year.”
Mexican President Felipe Calderon was presented with the Guinness World Record for the Highest Cable-Stayed Bridge in January. Situated in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range, and a fundamental piece of the Mazatlán-Durango highway, the bridge has a maximum drop of 1,321 feet from the surface of the bridge to the Baluarte… River – high enough to fit the Paris Eiffel Tower underneath its central span.
The completion of the bridge will greatly reduce the travel time from the Mexican states of Durango to Mazatlán by five hours, taking drivers only three to move from one state to the next. Mexican President Felipe Calderón stated at the inauguration ceremony: “This bridge is a symbol of the prosperity we want for Mexico, symbol of a future Mexico, something that is worth highlighting, because the Mexican people are determined to build a better Mexico; this Bicentennial Baluarte Bridge is an emblem of the future.”
With four lanes and a maximum drop that is 400 meters longer than the Eiffel Tower, ‘Crossing the Sierra Madre Occidental [mountains] meant overcoming challenges and adversities,’ said Mexico’s Secretary of Telecommunications and Transportation, Dionisio Pérez Jácome, adding that the bridge is, “a tangible example of the importance infrastructure has in Mexico.”
The bridge is expected to open to traffic later in the year.
For the fifth consecutive year, Mexico City’s central Zocalo Square has been the host of the famed “Three King’s Day” celebration, one of the most beloved Christmas traditions in Mexico. This year thousands gathered to feast on a massive, 10 ton, ‘Rosca de Reyes,’ the traditional holiday… cake, which was made with the participation of over two thousand bakers who used 2,323 pounds of fruit, 5,720 pounds of sugar and 1,320 pounds of marmalade.
One Mexico City resident said the ‘Rosca de Reyes’ represents an important tradition for many Mexican families. “The cake represents the arrival of the Three Kings,” said Elizabeth Hernandez, a Mexico City Resident.
The lively celebration known as ‘El Día de Reyes’ marks the epiphany taking place each year on January 6 .The day marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas and the festivities celebrated in Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries commemorate the visit of The Three Kings, or The Three Wise Men -- Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar -- who arrived with gold, frankincense and myrrh, as gifts from the Three Wise Men for the newborn child.
The tradition stems from Spain, where it has been celebrated since approximately the ninth century. Just as children leave out cookies for Santa, children in Mexico leave out water for the camels and food for the three wise men.
Hollywood has long since left its mark on Rosarito Beach, the coastal town along the Baja Peninsula where big blockbuster hits such as “Titanic,” “Master and Commander,” and “Pearl Harbor” were once filmed. Now, Baja Studios looks to extend its repute with a new film,… “Little Boy.”
Little Boy tells the story of a disabled 8-year old boy and his teenage brother struggling in World War II America when their father is sent to fight. With an Academy Award caliber cast including Tom Wilkinson, Kevin James and Emily Watson, Mexican investors and government officials alike hope that the film will return Rosarito Beach to its previous position as a regional growth engine.
Known for its fresh seafood, sprawling beaches and convenient proximity to Southern California, the tourist town also provides an enjoyable setting for cast and crew. "They lived there for a while and were having a great time, and loving the people," said Eduardo Verástegui, the film’s executive producer. “It’s an amazing studio … and you save a lot of money at the same time.”
With four sound stages and outdoor water tanks that mark some of the largest in the world, Baja Studios makes an ideal setting for a film such as Little Boy. Furthermore, Verástegui explains that filming in Baja California sliced the budget by 50 percent, without sacrificing quality. It is this “bang for buck” aspect that gives Mexican film industry professionals hope that Baja Studios will regain its place as a top production spot.
"We have the people, we have the resources, we have the facilities and we have the supply chain," said Ricardo Alvarez, head of innovation at ProMéxico, the government agency that promotes the film industry. “It's one of the advantages of being so close to Hollywood. Lots of our talent has experience working in Hollywood productions. That is really helpful. It allows you to solidify your credentials."
According to Verástegui, Little Boy has already pumped about $14 million dollars back into the local economy, and paves the way for future ventures. Movie dollars feed into various levels of the economy, from the hotel rooms filled to the tourists that flock in the wake of celebrities, the effects trickle down through every level of the local economy.
The Mexican film industry and locals alike anticipate the new life that Little Boy will bring to the town, and the actors echo the positive remarks. "I think that if people knew about this facility,” said Academy Award winner Tom Wilkinson, “that it's this good, with people around here that are this competent — they'd be flocking down here in droves."