Zacatecas has broken ground on a new “knowledge city” called Quantum, which is planned to stimulate innovation, entrepreneurship, and technological development in the state.

Estimated to cost 243 million pesos (US$13 million) during its first phase of development, Quantum will comprise of nine research and development (R&D) centers where industry experts from various sectors can collaborate to plan and develop scientific and technological projects.

Three of these R&D centers are already up and running, according to local media reports. The main goals of Quantum, and  for Zacatecas, are to develop technological solutions for the mining and ICT industries, both of which are prevalent in the state.

Another of its interesting features is the Center for Mathematics Research (Cimat), which will focus on developing computer security software. Officials say there will also be a botanical park and a hi-tech mall.

As part the knowledge city’s opening, a group of scientists and researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)  launched three different types of nano satellites into orbit, called Zacatecas 1, Zacatecas 2, and Zacatecas 3.

Enrique Cabrero Mendoza, Director of Conacyt, has hailed the project as ‘an important step’, adding that only the states that focus on innovation and technological developments will thrive in the future.

“Quantum is a worthwhile bet and will pay off in a very important way, since it will attract many companies and other research centers, in addition to those that are already present,” he said.

Zacatecas is home to large deposits of minerals, with the state accounting for 21% of the country’s gold production and 53.2% of its silver. Two of the largest silver mines in the world are operated in Zacatecas.