Some of the world’s biggest miners are ready to spend at least $5 billion in Argentina if October’s presidential elections herald an easing of capital restrictions.
Goldcorp Inc., the largest gold miner by market value, billionaire Ivan Glasenberg’s Glencore Plc and Yamana Gold Inc. are among producers signaling new investments in the country if the next government is more receptive to the industry, according to the country’s mining association and provincial and company officials briefed on the matter.
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner restricted imports and repatriated export revenue since she was re-elected in 2011. She created currency controls that hurt international mining companies and led Brazil’s Vale SA to cancel a $5.9 billion potash project in the country. The main presidential candidates appear more amenable to luring foreign investment, according to Martin Dedeu, president of the Argentine Mining Chamber. Fernandez isn’t allowed to seek a third term.
“The three leading candidates are convinced about the importance of the industry,” Dedeu said by telephone from Buenos Aires. “Daniel Scioli has said mining should be an engine for the economy, Mauricio Macri has been consistent in his support and Sergio Massa has said the sector deserves attention.”
Dedeu, who has met all the candidates, said the next president probably will lower mining taxes and gradually reduce currency controls including a ban on dividends going offshore.
Jorge Mayoral, Argentina’s federal mining secretary, wasn’t available to comment, an assistant said by phone.
Ricardo Morales Delgado, Scioli’s spokesman, didn’t reply to calls seeking comment. Mauricio Macri is in favor of sustainable mining operations, his spokesman said in a phone interview. Claudio Ambrosini, Massa’s spokesman, had no immediate comment when contacted by telephone.
In San Juan province, Glencore is considering a $3 billion investment to double copper production in Argentina over three years, according to a company official.
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