Investment in some Latin American countries remains taboo,
delegates attending LATAM Mining Cumbre heard in July, due to
past policies of expropriation by some left-wing governments,
with Argentina and Venezuela being highlighted by investors
as some of the most worrying cases.
The Santiago conference kicked off with an opening address
from the Chilean Minister of Mining, Aurora Williams,
followed by government representatives from other Latin
American countries including Argentina, Brazil, Peru and
Gold and copper were the main metals discussed at the
conference, as both private and public sectors expressed
concerns about the Latin American mining industry.
Major topics discussed at the conference included the
formalisation of the Latin American mining industry, which aims
to legalise illegal mines and create new policies to improve
the mining sector and attract private investors.
Juan Biset the Argentinian Sub-Secretary of Mining,
explained that Argentina is ready to make changes, with the
government led by Mauricio Macri aiming "to build trust in
their country" and follow the example of the other countries in
"We want to recover and attract more private investment. We
want to avoid committing the same mistakes and learn from the
countries which have been enjoying investments, such as Chile
and Peru, and understand how to do the same," Biset
Ricardo Labo, Peru’s Vice Minister of Mines,
told delegates that Peru wants to do even better with its
mining objectives for 2021.
"We aim at increasing Peruvian copper production by 30% by
2021 and tackling illegal and informal mines inside the
country. Today 25% of total gold production in Peru is produced
by illegal or informal mines," Labo said.
"These objectives aim at increasing security inside mines,
legalising workers and making these illegal mines pay taxes,"
Other state delegates from Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico
reaffirmed these targets.
The presentation of mining projects that the governments in
attendance aim to privatise was also at the centre of
discussions, displaying an investment-friendly environment
throughout the conference.
New mining policies, the development of new deposits, and
know-how on both mineral extraction and geological knowledge
about existing and new mining areas were also mentioned by
private and public participants.
Pact between South Africa and Chile
One of the highlights of the conference was the signing of a
cooperation in mining memorandum between the South African and
Chilean Governments. South Africa’s Minister of
Mineral Resources, Mosebenzi Zwane and his Chilean counterpart,
Aurora Williams, signed the cooperation agreement stating that
the governments would cooperate for the development of both
their mining industries.
Included in the memorandum were agreements to share
knowledge in geology, experiences in policy formulation and
environmental regulations including best practices, cooperation
in mineral development and experiences in underground mining
and mineral processing.
LATAM Mining Cumbre ended with a panel discussion about
lithium supply and demand forecasts over the next 10 years.
Panel participants included representatives from SQM, Lithium
Americas and Arete Capital.
The panel said that a shortage would be possible within the
next five years and that the success of traditional and new
producers to bring more material into the market was
Panel participants agreed that over the next decade, supply
was forecast to likely meet demand.