updated: 9 Jun 2011)
has one of the largest and potentially richest metalliferous mineral areas in
its Andean region and non-metalliferous mineral deposits elsewhere within its territory.
Since the development of investor friendly mining laws in 1993, Argentine
mining exports have grown from US$70 million in the early '70s to over
US$4,500 million in 2010.
major projects have been responsible for the majority of growth:
la Alumbrera (copper and gold) owned by Minera Alumbrera S.A. (Xstrata Pty Ltd-
Hombre Muerto - Fenix Project (lithium) owned
by Minera del Altiplano SA (FMC Lithium Co.)
Vanguardia (gold and silver) owned by Anglo Gold Ashanti
(gold-silver) owned by Barrick
a number of new projects and junior mining companies operating in Argentina.
The following mine developments took place in the last three years Minera Santa
Cruz (gold/silver), owned by Hothchild Group from Peru whom completed their
underground mine construction in the Province of Santa Cruz, and Manantial
Espejo (silver) owned by Pan American Silver (Canada).
- a bi-national
Chilean-Argentine project owned by Barrick Mining Co. The company is planning
to invest over US$3.3 billion to develop the project in the San Juan province
crossing over the Chilean Andean region. The project has received the approval
from both Chilean and Argentine governments, and will be the largest gold mine
in South America.
The project is under construction.
Rio Colorado, a potassium project owned by Vale (Brazil) Mendoza was acquired
from Rio Tinto in 2009 in US$700 million. Vale will require investment of US$1
billion to develop this resource located in the south of Mendoza.
major copper resource owned by Xstrata Copper will be one of the largest mine
developments in Argentina. Estimated investment is US$2.8 billion. The company
continues with their feasibility studies. Annual production is estimated in
245,000 tonnes of copper with a mining life span of over 20 years.
(silver/lead/tin) owned by Silver Standard from Canada has completed the mine
construction. This resource is located in Jujuy, northern Argentina. The
investment for the expansion process was in the region of US$180 million.
Flechas a copper/gold project operated by Desarrollo de Prospectos Mineros
(Suramina Resources) in Argentina and Minera Frontera Del Oro in Chile. Project
owners are investing US$7 million to finance the exploration activities.
Located in the Province of San Juan, the resource straddles over to Cordon Los
Nietos on the III Region in Chile.
Rica, the copper/gold resource is located just 35km away from Minera Alumbrera
mine in the Province of Catamarca. Xstrata Copper has recently signed an option
to develop this copper/gold resource with Goldcorp their partner with Minera
Alumbrera, The agreement provides the opportunity to use Minera Alumbrera's mining facilities to process the mineral coming from Agua
Rica, extending Minera Alumbreras life cycle in another 25 years.
a gold mine located in Jachal, Province of San Juan is owned by Yamana
Resources. The mine was built and commissioned in 2009 with an investment of
Vicuña, a copper/gold project is owned by Suramina Resources and
located between San Juan La Rioja and Chile.
Navidad - one of the largest silver resources located in Southern
Argentina, is owned by Pan American Silver. Project owners are awaiting government
elections to take place in October this year to focus on their next steps.
Negro the gold project located in the province of Santa Cruz was recently
acquired by GoldCorp a major Canadian gold producer in US$3.5 billion to Andean
Resources an Australia junior miner. The company indicates an investment of
US$850 million will be made in this project and expect to initiate operation by
Lindero gold project is developed at over 4,000m above sea level in the
province of Salta. The project owned by Mansfield Minerals foresees an
investment of US$220 million. It is expected Lindero will produce 0.83 million
ounces of gold, with an annual average of 1612,000 ounces.
resources are found in northern Argentina, the salars in Jujuy, Salta and Jujuy
has received great attention by Canadian and Australian investors.
Lithium (Australian owned) has commissioned their processing plant earlier this
year to produce lithium carbonate. Other investors include Australian owned
Orocobre Pty Ltd with salars in Jujuy.
mining company Lithium Americas announced plans to build a lithium carbonate
facility at its Cauchari project in Argentina. In two phases for a total of
US$398 million. The plant expects to operate with a full capacity of 40,000
tonnes a year.
some exploration companies are awaiting the results of the next presidential
elections taking place in October this year, Wall Street have predicted President Cristina Fernandez will win the elections, extending the
government for another presidential period. Although Argentina has introduced
an export tax on copper/gold and silver and set some limitations with the
Glaciel law introduced late last year, mineral mining exploration remain strong
in those provinces friendly to the mining activity to include Catamarca, San
Juan, Santa Cruz, Salta and most recently La Rioja.
It is expected other
provinces will introduce some changes in their legislation to facilitate mining
activity in their provinces.
is active with an increasing presence of international players; Argentine
mining companies are demanding mining services and find it difficult to
contract drilling services due to the limited number of companies providing
these services and the increase in exploration activities.
most mining in Argentina is open pit with only two mines operating underground
of geochemical analysis laboratories are already established in the region and
provide adequate services to the exploration companies.
the extension of unexplored areas there are very good opportunities for junior
mining companies with mineral exploration in those provinces that have a
friendly attitude to mining activity.
boasts a stable legal and tax framework for the mining industry, which provides
very attractive tax benefits.
tax payable is a value added tax of 21 per cent of import value, which is later
recovered through sales.
Argentine market is easy to access and treats both domestic and foreign
The Mercosur Free Trade Agreement between Argentina, Brazil,
Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile suggests that trading between member countries has
clear import duty benefits over goods coming from other countries.