Mining entrepreneur Lukas Lundin has a well-earned reputation for succeeding in places where others refuse to tread. Even, it seems, Ecuador.
When his company Lundin Gold Inc. bought the Ecuador-based Fruta del Norte (FDN) project in 2014, it raised a lot of eyebrows. Ecuador, after all, was one of the most inhospitable places in the world for mining investment in the previous six years. The country had no mining ministry, didn’t hand out concessions and insisted on a punitive 70-per-cent windfall tax that destroyed the potential upside from higher metal prices. Foreign investment by western miners was close to nil.
But as usual, it appears Lundin timed his move perfectly. Since his entry, Ecuador has adopted some workable mining policy and has grabbed the attention of the investment community.
“Mining is no longer a four-letter word in Ecuador,” Lundin Gold chief executive Ron Hochstein said in an interview at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference in Toronto.
Ecuadorian officials, including mining minister Javier Cordova Unda, spoke to a packed conference room at the PDAC conference on Monday, stressing that the country is committed to mining and wants foreign investment. They would have struggled to draw a dozen people a few years ago.
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