One of the most interesting stories in mining and energy of late has been the re-emergence of Argentina. With a new pro-business government here moving quickly to open the country to investment, after a long absence on the world stage.
And this past week, President Mauricio Macri took the biggest step yet in re-booting the mining sector.
That’s a move to unify mining policy across the entire country. Which Argentina’s Secretary of Mining Daniel Meilan told Reuters Thursday is now underway.
Meilan said that one of the biggest features of the unified federal mining policy would be permission for open pit operations. Which right now are prohibited by local laws in seven of Argentina’s 23 states.
That’s been a big sticking point for mine developers over the past several years — in gold, silver, copper and uranium. But the federal government wants to change that patchwork of regulations, with Secretary Meilan saying they are working on legislation to “invite the provinces back into the system”.
He noted that the government is taking the first steps by creating a draft national mining bill — using input from Argentina’s Federal Mining Counsel. Which will be then be used to initiate discussions with state governors, aimed at getting a nationwide consensus on mining policy.
If successful, this would be a quantum leap for mining in Argentina. With the country hosting great geologic potential, which has gone under-investigated during the most recent exploration boom — due to concerns over the viability of deposits found here.
A new mining policy allowing open pits would be a major trigger for increased activity. Especially combined with other recent moves from the Macri government, such as a lifting of laws prohibiting repatriation of corporate profits out of Argentina.
Watch for news on the progress of the draft bill, and the ensuing discussions with local government. It isn’t going to be an easy path, but federal officials do appear determined.
Here’s to uniting the country.
By Dave Forest
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Dave is Managing Geologist of the Pierce Points Daily E-Letter.