Argentina’s mining output fell by 70% in 2020

Argentinian flag in the Andes. (Image by Beatrice Murch, Wikimedia Commons).

The Argentine Chamber of Mining Entrepreneurs (CAEM in Spanish) reported that the country’s mining output fell by 70% y-o-yin 2020 due to the effects of the covid-19 pandemic.

According to state-owned news agency Télam, CAEM also said that small and medium-sized mining operations, which tend to be family-owned, saw a 40-50% fall in production.

In the Chamber’s view, certain “unjustified” restrictions that some provinces have imposed on mining operations are in part to blame for the lower output. Thus, the industry group encouraged regional governments to launch an informed dialogue that could lead to the restarting of the projects that have been halted.

The Work and Production Assistance Program provided a first glance at the possibility of state, community, mining industry, and unions working together

In particular, CAEM expressed concern over operations in the southern Chubut province, which hosts copper and silver-lead projects such as Pan American Silver’s Navidad project. The western-central Mendoza province was also pointed out by the Chamber as an area of concern, given that many of the 130 mining and related companies working on gold, silver, copper, and potash projects remain inoperative.   

Despite the negative balance, the organization reckoned that the federal government’s efforts to support the mining industry via the Work and Production Assistance Program (ATP in Spanish) have been key in keeping some mines operative and gradually increasing production. 

For the Argentine Chamber of Mining Entrepreneurs, the ATP also provided a first glance at the possibility of state, community, industry, and unions working together towards a common goal. Thus, the group is working on a proposal aimed at maintaining unity among these actors and designing a long-term strategy for the recovery of the country’s mining industry. 

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