September 2016: Argentinean President Mauricio Macri is keen to attract foreign companies back to the country after testing times under his predecessor.
This week he hosted a major business and investment forum at the Nestor Kirchner Cultural Center in Buenos Aires for more than 1,500 executives from 67 countries and met with dozens of potential investors, including many eyeing opportunities in the country’s mining industry.
“The country is on the move again,” Macri told them, promising a new “period of clear rules and seriousness.”
Ross Beaty and Eduardo Elsztain with President Macri. (Casa Rosada)
Ross Beaty, chairman of Canada’s Pan American Silver (NASDAQ: PAAS) said PAAS would like to invest US$1B in the Navidad Ag project in Chubut, the world’s largest undeveloped silver deposit.
Also present in the meeting was Eduardo Elsztain, chairman of Austral Gold (ASX: AGD), which recently completed its acquisition of Argentex Mining Corporation. Argentex owns mining property in the provinces of Santa Cruz and Rio Negro; its principle asset is the 10,000h Pengüino deposit in Santa Cruz which hosts resources of 26.7Moz AgEq.
Macri also met with Rob McEwan, CEO of McEwan Mining (NYSE: MUX), who discussed MUXs Los Azules Cu exploration play in San Juan province, where the company has confirmed Indicated Resources of 5.4B lb Cu.
Investment in lithium
Construction of the world’s largest lithium plant will begin later this year in Salta province. Wayne Richardson, CEO of Enirgi Group Corp, told Macri that the Rincon project will put the company and Argentina at the center of the global lithium supply chain.
However, efforts in Buenos Aires to promote investment in mining could be undermined if it does not tackle opposition to the industry in many parts of the country. In a statement after Beaty’s meeting with Macri, PAAS clarified that a provincial ban in Chubut on open pit mining would have to be reformed before any investment decision was taken on Navidad.