Argentina: The Federal Mining Agreement in the spotlightLast week, much to the dismay of the Macri government and the secretary of mining Daniel Meilan in charge of the initiative, a draft copy of the Federal Mining Agreement (FMA) was leaked and published on Argentina’s trade paper site, Mining Press (15). That link will take you to a PDF of the whole thing (stamped confidential on each of its 18 pages) so peruse it at you own leisure. What I can tell you after reading the draft a couple of times is that the document is a poor sort of agreement in real terms. What they’ve clearly tried to do is get an agreement to which even the most reactionary and traditionally anti-mining provinces of Argentina such as Mendoza, Rio Negro, Tierra del Fuego and Chubut can agree to. Which is fine, as above all the national government wants a piece of paper signed by all 23 provinces of the country which they can then show to the world (the plan is to have it signed before PDAC and show it there) and say, “Hey everybody! Argentina is now one big flat level playing field! We all agree on mining!”.Which is, of course, bullshit. The lax wording of the document may indeed allow places like Chubut to sign on (though it’s still not a certainty), but when they try the next stage of taking this Federal Mining Agreement (FMA) to the national Congress and designing laws that will govern mining over the whole country, the reaction of any province that doesn’t like any of the clauses the nation tries to shove down its throat will be predictable and obvious, “We didn’t agree to that!”, and the whole FMA is shown to be the worthless document that it is. Style over substance, it’s the Argentine way.
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This from IKN403, out last Sunday: