Argentina presidential candidate promises certainty for mining investment

August 26, 2019

Argentina’s opposition candidate for president, Alberto Fernandez, told mining companies and governors from key mining provinces that his team has been working to provide certainty for the nation’s shale oil and lithium sectors.

Reuters reported that Fernandez, the front-runner for October’s presidential election, told the companies that his team has been working on a plan to create a legal framework that provides certainty for investments, according to a press release about the meeting from his “Frente de Todos” coalition.

Fernandez also said he wanted to promote the flow of dollars into Argentina, without putting controls on taking money out, a source present for the meeting said, adding that his comments were “reassuring.”

“If I do my job right, companies will want to keep their money in Argentina,” Fernandez said during the meeting, attended by between 30 and 40 people in a hotel in downtown Buenos Aires, according to the source.

Representatives from companies including Glencore Plc, Galan Lithium, Neo Lithium, Livent Corp, Posco, Antofalla Minerals, Newmont Goldcorp and Galaxy Lithium America, attended the meeting, the coalition said.

The mining companies opened with remarks directed to Fernandez, asking for continuity in the sector, ease in importing equipment and taking money out of the country, the source said.

For his part, Fernandez said his goal was to ensure continuity in the sector for 10 years, and added that mining regulation would continue at the provincial level, the source added.

He said he considered mining an opportunity, rather than a problem, and vowed not to be an obstacle to the sector, which includes lithium, copper, gold and silver, the source said.

The comments were some of the strongest signals yet by Fernandez on his plans for the sector amid investor concerns his government, if elected, could revert to the interventionist policies of former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who is now his vice presidential running mate.

Mining investments plummeted when Fernandez de Kirchner, who governed Argentina from 2007-2015, imposed a 5 percent tax on mining exports and banned companies from sending profits to foreign headquarters.

Free-markets proponent President Mauricio Macri ditched trade and currency controls, including the 5 percent tax on mining exports, but later introduced a tax across all exports as part of the fiscal goals under the $57-billion IMF standby agreement.

 

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