Mexican President Felipe Calderon helped inaugurate a new mine in the north-central state of Zacatecas that is expected to produce 283 tons of silver in 2015.

Mexico is reclaiming "the role it had as a global mining power," Calderon said at the opening of the Saucito mine and processing facility.

The complex belongs to Fresnillo Plc, the world's No. 1 primary silver miner, and will employ nearly 800 people. The project is expected to generate another 2,000 or so jobs in the surrounding area.

Representing an investment of $303 million, the Saucito venture "will give a very strong impetus" to the Mexican mining sector, Calderon said.

The mine is forecast to produce around 133 tons of silver and 1.5 tons of ore in its first year of operation.

Mexican silver output by volume grew 75 percent between 2003 and 2010, while gold production tripled, the president said.

"We are returning to being the top silver producer in the world, thanks to Zacatecas, of course, and thanks to the growth of the mining industry in the country," he said.

Mexico's mining sector has seen $12 billion in new investment over the past 4 1/2 years, according to Calderon.

That expansion, however, has been accompanied by labor conflicts and deadly accidents, including the 2006 coal mine explosion that left 65 men dead.