Under the government decree, non-essential activities are to be suspended immediately until April 30.

The decision is expected to have a significant impact on the supply of silver at a time when demand for silver coins is high. Mexico is the world's largest silver producer at some 23% of world production and produced more than 200 million ounces in 2019, up from 196.6 million ounces in 2018.

"To define the mining sector as non-essential, is not only to economically affect thousands of workers, but also to leave 656 communities alone where we operate and to whom we provide basic health services," said Fernando Alanís Ortega, president of the Camimex Mexican mining chamber.

Mexico is also a significant producer of copper, gold and other minerals.