Argentina: Chubut is as FUBAR as ever for miningAnother Macri government pitch on mining last week, with the national government including Macri himself making noises about Chubut and how mining development there would provide important and needed economic benefits for the region. It came on the back of a visit to Macri by executives of Pan American Silver (PAA.to) (PAAS) who are keen to get the company’s Navidad silver/zinc/lead project (well, in fact if we’re being brutally honest it’d be a base metals mine with a decent silver by-product kicker) move forward as well as working on the latest strike over pay and conditions at its Manantial Espejo silver mine, also in Argentina.The pro-business/pro-mining noises were picked up by national and international wire media alike and went down well, right up until the moment somebody bothered to ask politicians in Chubut what they thought about the declarations. Chubut Governor Mario Das Neves said that his region “Has other priorities” at the moment (19), which was basically saying that he understands Chubut has to change its provincial laws or even the constitution before Navidad will be able to get green lighted. His underlings and other province politicos fell into line, pointing out that the central “meseta” region of Chubut would indeed benefit economically from Navidad opening but they agreed with the governor that they had more pressing matters first, that the debate on the mine’s viability may have to go to a referendum on changes to the laws (20), that the environment and use of non-toxic reagents at any mine was a priority and other matters which make the whole permitting track of Navidad sound like what it is; an exercise in cat-herding.For those of you just tuning in, this is yet another example of how regional politics and agenda toward mining are far more important than anything the national government might have to say. Argentina mining investment = Choose your location very carefully. When PAAS bought Aquiline they didn’t do that and have been regretting the deal ever since.
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A small segment of IKN363, out last night. The example is Chubut but the lesson works for all the country, worth keeping in mind when the brain-dead end of the sector starts pumping whatever stock or story at you later this year.