Mexico has a rich history of mining dating back to the early 1500’s, after the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire. Gold was discovered and produced at El Oro, near Mexico City in 1521 and Veta Madre silver-gold mine was discovered at Guanajuato in 1550. Over the 300 years of Spanish rule, precious and base metal production in Mexico increased steadily, to a point where Mexico soon eclipsed Peru as the biggest producer of silver in the world. Up until the late 1800’s, silver was Mexico’s chief export, accounting for as much as 70% of the country’s exports. Over a period of about 500 years, Mexico has produced over 10 Billion ounces of silver. Mining continues to be a strong component of Mexico’s economy, contributing almost 10% to the country’s GDP. The country has a strong and experienced work force in mining that is backed by a well-structured and supportive regulatory framework. Foreign investment in exploration and development of minerals deposits remains strong, in spite of recent changes to the country’s tax regime that come into effect in 2014.