Mining companies hope for pragmatic form of Peronism amid project freeze (Buenos Aires Times – September 7, 2019)

Whoever wins next month’s presidential election in Argentina will have to rely on commodity exporters to bring in much-needed foreign currency. The mining industry is hoping that will win them some concessions.

Since Alberto Fernández nailed a landslide win over President Mauricio Macri in the August PASO primary election, Argentina’s foreign currency reserves have fallen 22 percent to US$51.7 billion.

The victory has led mining companies that were considering billions of dollars in investment in Argentina to think again. They want clarity on whether Fernández and his running-mate, former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, will resort to the protectionist measures and populist policies of the past.

“It is more than natural that anyone mulling an investment in Argentina is taking some time to think,” said Gustavo Koch, executive director of mining chamber CAEM (Camara Argentina de Empresarios Mineros). “Decisions will be delayed and I’m not sure they will necessarily happen after the elections.”

Foreign companies are monitoring the situation, according to both Daniel Meilán, a former mining secretary under Macri, and Rolando Dávila, secretary general of the Chile and Argentina Chamber of Commerce. Both said they’re serving as advisers for the companies, which they declined to name.

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