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Argentina to ramp up exploration

Mining in Argentina. Photo by the Minister of Energy and Mining.

Argentina’s sub secretary of Mining Development, Mario Capello, expects exploration activities to rise by 2 per cent in 2017.

In an interview with local newspaper El Economista, Capello said that, in spite of the not so positive global outlook for exploration, 32 new companies have set foot in the South American country.

Many of such newcomers are from Australia, like Oceana Gold, but Canada remains the leading foreign investor in Argentina’s mining industry with a 60 per cent dominance.

“There is also Shangdon Gold, who left in 2011 due to the retentions issue, which no other country in the world had. We are very excited because Argentina’s biggest bounty is in mining,” the official said (in Spanish).

In partnership with Barrick Gold (TSX, NYSE:ABX), Chinese Shangdon Gold invested $1.2 billion in the construction of Pascua Lama, the first binational gold and silver mine between Chile and Argentina.

For Capello, not only the one-of-a-kind project needs to be admired, but also Chile’s own mining industry. “Last year, our neighbours exported $300 billion just in copper, while Argentina only sold $4 billion,” he said.

The sub secretary of mining revealed that the country’s diplomatic missions are campaigning to lure in investors to Argentina’s six world-class porphyries located in the western provinces of Neuquén, Salta, and Catamarca.

Cappello said that president Mauricio Macri wants to reassure foreign miners that Argentina offers a safe, stable environment for the exploitation of copper, gold, silver, and lithium.