(Bloomberg) — Argentine President Alberto Fernandez had to dodge protesters to get onto a minibus that was then pelted with stones as environmentalists battle a move to give mining the green light in Chubut.
In the Patagonian province to check on efforts to extinguish forest fires, Fernandez was caught off guard as protesters seized the opportunity to take their objection to precious-metal mining to the very top of government.
The latest twist in a yearslong conflict shines a light on a growing challenge for mining companies around the world as environmental, social and governance expectations rise among investors, regulators and the general public.
In Peru, community opposition has held back major copper projects. In Mexico, McEwen Mining Inc. has halted work at its El Gallo gold project because of community blockades.
Argentina has huge untapped deposits of lithium, copper, gold and silver. One of the barriers to development is anti-mining sentiment stoked by environmental blemishes such as three cyanide incidents in two years at a Barrick Gold Corp. mine in San Juan province.
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