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Mexico had been mining precious metals for 500 years before the Spanish arrived in 1521 and this continued for another 300 years but to the advantage of the Spanish. The main metals mined were silver (of which Mexico has one of the largest concentrations of silver in the world), gold, copper, lead and zinc. Ten billion ounces of silver have been mined by Mexico to date.

The governmental policies of encouraging foreign investment and prioritising land exploration rather than urbanisation of possible mineral bearing lands in the 1990's have led to some astonishing developments. In 2010 there was investment in Mexico by some 700 foreign companies generating trillions of dollars for the economy. The Aztec and Mayan designs of Mexico's silver coins are popular throughout the world.