Argentina's untapped potential
and mining growth trend
By James O'Rourke, Staff Mining Journalist - October
The evolution of Argentina as an emerging mining powerhouse is
attributed to a combination of factors that are being
capitalized on now by mining companies that understand
as one operator put it "Argentina is the place to be for
untapped potential in a stable, favourable mining investment
climate". The bulk of Argentina's mineral
production is concentrated along the Andean Codillera, and this
area remains relatively untapped; Argentina has not
seen systematic exploration like mining hot spots of neighbour
Chile which has proven enormous potential and shares similar
geological makeup to Argentina's western frontier along the
Andean mountain chain. It is estimated that less than 25%
of Argentina's territories have been surveyed for possible
exploitation. Argentina is currently attracting increased
investment in exploration, offering astute mining investors
many unique opportunities.
NW Argentina as a preferred highly prospective region: The significance of the enormous potential of this
prolific yet still under
explored region is typified by Newmont Ventures, a division of
Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM
26, 2007 announcement of gold exploration with Cardero Resource Corp. (AMEX: CDY
and Newmont Propose to Form Strategic Gold Exploration Alliance
Targeting NW Argentina". With global gold production and
reserve growth lower and demand poised to unendingly rise in
this growing global economy, suppliers like Newmont are engaged
in an environment of aggressive exploration. NW Argentina is one
of the most prolific regions and host to a number of prospective
mining concessions including Yamana Gold Inc.'s (NYSE: AUY
news) 2.9M oz Gualcamayo gold deposit. North of the Yamana Gold deposit is the
El Torno Gold Project of recently listed Soltera Mining Corp. (OTCBB:
where Soltera possesses a large gold-rich quartz vein up to 14
km long and 14 m wide. Soltera's El Torno Project has the
earmarking of a significant gold mine and is the subject of a Special Advisory/Study Section (See
Special Advisory/Study Section below).
Pulse of affairs in Argentina for
the mining sector:
large and potentially rich metalliferous mineral areas in
Argentia's Andean region, and non-metalliferous mineral deposits
elsewhere within its territories, the mining industry was
underdeveloped for decades and had traditionally contributed
less than 0.5% to the gross national product of the country.
However since initiating the development of investor friendly
mining laws starting in 1993, Argentine mining exports have
grown 106% and according to the government estimates mining
investment will reach US$5 billion in the next five years, 15
per cent of the world total.
- Legislation now provides legal and
economic safeguards for foreign investors including:
foreign companies, without limitation, are allowed to be
exclusive owners of mining properties.
2) A stable tax
rate that lasts for 30 years following the submission of a
feasibility study to the Secretary of Mines.
inducement for mining investors.
4) Uniform application
of new mining laws.
- National government policies
favour development of mining concessions where reasonable and
adequate environmental plans are in place for a win-win
scenario. However, mining companies must work closely with the
provincial governments and local groups as provincial
governments have a significant role in the awarding of mining
concessions and in the regulation of environmental matters.
Provincial governments, ever mindful of re-election, make it
imperative for local mining operators to be vigilant in ensuring
they have the local populace on side and satisfied that a
responsible & adequate plan is in place and
that they will benefit from the mining presence.
Commentary on economic and
political happenings in Argentina is found at the bottom of this
A list of notable mining
participants and projects in Argentina is found near the bottom of
this abridged report.
Content found herein is not investment advise
Special Advisory/Review - Case Study:
Soltera Mining Corp. (OTCBB: SLTA
offers tremendous potential for gold in Argentina (in the
province of Jujuy, located in the Andean Cordillera in the
extreme north-west of Argentina near the international border
with Bolivia) as Soltera possesses a large gold-rich quartz vein
up to 14 km long and 14 m wide known as the El Torno Project.
Soltera's operation is backed with a highly skilled technical
team that includes SLTA's President Dr. Fabio Montinari and Dr.
Kevin Ashworth, both whom have extensive knowledge and
background in the mining industry. A particular clue for
investors would be the calibre of individuals involved; Dr.
Ashworth is retained as an adviser by several London investment
organizations and Dr. Montinari has personally relocated from
his university professorship in Italy to Soltera's El Torno
property in order to ensure proper execution of their plan and
maximize shareholder value.
The El Torno Project is a past
producing gold mine that was worked by the Incas, Jesuits and
Spanish in parts using only the simplest of means (within the
last year the upper 2 to 3 m of parts of the vein and an
alluvial deposit near to the vein were mined; the gold was
recovered as particles and micro-nuggets); Soltera is confident
that modern exploration techniques will allow for the further
extraction of gold from the area and is expeditiously moving to
exploit the mining concession. Highly qualified opinion (non
43-101) is that characteristics for 2M ounces exists in just one
small section of the vein that has had work performed on it by
Puma Minerals and Latin Americas leading producer of refined
gold, Peñoles. Peñoles re-interpreted Puma Mineral's exploration
drill data and after further work Peñoles estimated (non 43-101
compliant) that a 1.3 km length of the vein would have the
potential for more than 500,000 ounces of gold to a depth of 100
m and that a 2 to 2.5 km length to a depth of 400 m would have
potential for more than 2 million ounces (assuming a grade of 10
g/t). The vein has more than 1,000 m of underground galleries.
The vein extends north-south, is sub-vertical, and is
accompanied in places by a stockwork system of small quartz and
pyrite veins that can extend up to 300 m from the main vein.
Soltera Mining Corp. is an
exploration stage company primarily focused on the exploration
of its El Torno project. The El Torno gold prospect is a
past-producing gold mine and Soltera believes that modern
exploration techniques will allow for the further extraction of
gold from the area. The site has good infrastructure basics in
place, the region is at altitudes around 4,000 m and the nearest
permanent habitation is the village of Santa Catalina about 20
km to the east. The property consists of four mining rights
covering a total area of 7,800 hectares. Soltera plans to
commence the exploration program with geochemical prospecting to
evaluate the presence of mineralization along and around the
complete vein, as well as in specific areas of the stockwork
We anticipate potentially significant upside share price movement and higher valuation as the story of this new listing to the market gets
better known and exploration results verify historic data. With less than 45M shares outstanding,
this new issue currently trades under US$1 per share.
Independent Links for further DD on Soltera Mining Corp.
Notable Mining Participants in Argentina
Three major projects have been
responsible for growth:
1) Bajo de la Alumbrera Project (copper and gold) - owned by Minera
Alumbrera S.A. (MIM Holdings, North and Rio Algom)
2) Salar del Hombre Muerto - Fenix Project (lithium) - owned by Minera
del Altiplano SA (FMC Lithium Co.)
3) Cerro Vanguardia Project (gold and silver) - owned by Minera Mincorp
SA (Anglo American associated with local Perez Companc S.A.)
Although not in production, two other
important projects are:
1) Pascua-Lama - a bi-national Chilean-Argentine project run by Canadian
company Barrick. The company will invest $950 million to develop the
project in the San Juan province.
2) Agua Rica - the mine is situated along the side of huge mountains in
a very heavily mountainous area. The Veladero gold-silver project in
Argentina’s western San Juan province is part of the El Indio gold belt
that straddles the borders of Argentina and Chile.
Other prospects include the Pirquitas
silver, tin and zinc mine in north western Jujuy province, owned by
------ ------ ------
The majority of the large mining projects
are controlled by the local subsidiaries of multinationals. There are
also several smaller, listed, foreign companies that are active in
exploration and development.
Companies with gold exploration
properties in Argentina (Names are expandable in the non abridged
version of this report):
ALEXANDER MINING PLC
AMERA RESOURCES CORPORATION
ANACONDA MINING INC.
ANDEAN RESOURCES LIMITED
ANTARES MINERALS INC.
APEX SILVER MINES LTD
AQUILINE RESOURCES INC
ARGENTEX MINING CORP
ATW VENTURE CORP.
BALLAD GOLD & SILVER LTD.
BARRICK EXPLORACIONES ARGENTINA S.A.
BARRICK GOLD CORPORATION
CANYON RESOURCES CORP
CARDERO ARGENTINA S.A.
CARDERO RESOURCE CORP.
CASCADERO COPPER CORPORATION
CLOUDBREAK RESOURCES LTD.
COEUR ARGENTINA S.R.L.
COEUR D ALENE MINES CORP
COMPANHIA VALE DO RIO DOCE - CVRD
COMPANIA DE MINAS BUENAVENTURA S.A.A.
COMPANIA MINERA ESPERANZA
COMPANIA MINERA SOLITARIO DE ARGENTINA S.A.
COMPANIA MINERA TRENDIX S.A.
CONDOR RESOURCES INC.
CONSOLIDATED PACIFIC BAY MINERALS LTD.
CORO MINING CORP.
ESTELAR RESOURCES LTD.
EXETER RESOURCE CORPORATION
FOMENTO MINERO DE SANTA CRUZ S.E. - FOMICRUZ S.E.
FREEPORT MCMORAN COPPER & GOLD INC
GEOCOM RESOURCES INC
GLOBAL COPPER CORP.
GOLDEN ARROW RESOURCES CORPORATION
GOLDEN CHINA RESOURCES CORPORATION
GOLDEN PEAKS ARGENTINA S.A.
GOLDEN PEAKS RESOURCES LTD.
HOCHSCHILD MINING PLC
IMA EXPLORATION INC.
INTREPID MINES LIMITED
LA MANCHA RESOURCES INC.
LA PLATA GOLD CORPORATION
LAKE RESOURCES NL
LATIN AMERICAN MINERALS ARGENTINA S.A.
LATIN AMERICAN MINERALS INC.
MANSFIELD MINERA S.A.
MANSFIELD MINERALS INC.
MARIANA RESOURCES LTD.
MARIFIL MINES LIMITED
MAURICIO HOCHSCHILD ARGENTINA S.A. - MH ARGENTINA S.A.
MERIDIAN GOLD INC.
MINAS ARGENTINAS S.A.
MINERA ANDES INC.
MINERA ANDES S.A.
MINERA ANTARES ARGENTINA S.A.
MINERA AQUILINE ARGENTINA S.A.
MINERA EL DESQUITE S.A.
MINERA MARIANA ARGENTINA S.A.
MINERA PATAGONIA S.A.
MIRASOL ARGENTINA S.R.L.
MIRASOL RESOURCES LTD.
OPAWICA EXPLORATIONS INC.
PACIFIC RIM MINING CORP.
PACIFIC RIM MINING CORPORATION ARGENTINA S.A.
PALLADON VENTURES LTD.
PATAGONIA GOLD PLC
PATAGONIA GOLD S.A.
PORTAL RESOURCES LTD.
RIO DOCE ARGENTINA S.A.
ROME RESOURCES LTD.
ROYAL GOLD, INC.
SILVER STANDARD RESOURCES INC.
SOLTERA MINING CORP.
STEALTH MINERALS LIMITED
SURAMINA RESOURCES INC.
TECK COMINCO LIMITED
TNR GOLD CORP.
VEGA GOLD LTD.
YAMANA GOLD INC.
YAMIRI GOLD AND ENERGY INC.
Gold exploration properties in
Argentina (Names are expandable
in the non abridged version of this report):
AGUA NUEVA (LA CABEZA NORTH)
CERRO MOJON PROJECT
CLAUDIA - CERRO VANGUARDIA
CONDOR - YAMANA
DIENTE VERDE PROJECT
DON SIXTO/ LA CABEZA
EL DORADO (SALTA)
ESTRELLA - YAMANA
GARCIA - RIO DE LAS TAGUAS
GUALCAMAYO / QUEBRADA DEL DIABLO
LA BREA/LAS CARACHAS
LA ESPERANZA/ ANDEAN
LA FORTUNA PROJECT
LA ORTIGUITA (LA ORTIGA)
LA PALOMA - SYRAH (PATAGONIA)
LAGUNA DE LOS TOROS
LAGUNAS LOS PATOS
LAS BAYAS (EVELINA)
LOS AZULES / SAN JUAN
LOS DOS BUHOS
LOS MENUCOS (EL PUESTO ET AL.)
LOS MENUCOS CERRA LAMINA
LOS MENUCOS CERRO ABANICO
MESA (LAS MELLIZAS)
MICMAR - MARTINETAS
RANCHILLOS / RIO BLANCO
SALAR DE ORO
SAN FRANCISCO - PACIFIC RIM
SAN JORGE (VALLE DE USPALLATA)
SAN JOSE (JUJUY)
SAN RAFAEL (ANCHORIS)
SAN ROQUE PROJECT
SANTA CRUZ (24 PROPS)
SANTA CRUZ PROJECT
SIERRA DE LAS MINAS
Economic and Political happenings in
Note: Madison Avenue Research is
neutral in stance; the following are from contributed commentary by
political, economic, and media pundits in-the-know:
A presidential election is set for October
28, 2007; Cristina Kirchner, the wife of the current president, Nestor
Kirchner of the Partido Justicialista (PJ, or Peronists), and a popular
PL senator, is well placed (according to Argentine political/media
pundits) to place first. Mr Kirchner has enlarged his influence over the
bulk of the Peronist party, which has a majority in Congress, while
successfully courting sections of the opposition and obtaining the
support of 2/3 of provincial governors thus forming a broader political
alliance. Mrs Kirchner’s honeymoon period may prove short-lived, since
she faces a number of challenges if she is to preside over a smooth
transition from rapid GDP growth rates in 2003-07 to more sustainable
levels. If Mrs Kirchner is successful, her ability to govern is likely
to be relatively firm, at least until the congressional election in
2009, as she will enjoy support from the political alliance that her
husband had fostered.
The economy has rebounded from a recession and less than stellar
performance during 1999-2002, stirred by peso devaluation and high
commodity prices. Some economists predict the closing of the output gap,
bottlenecks and the scarcity of financing should temper GDP growth going
forward. Inflows of foreign direct investment should average around 2%
of GDP. A decline in fiscal surpluses is also predicted. The next
government may address the issue of US$25 billion in “hold-outs” who did
not participate in the 2005 debt exchange. A government under Mrs
Kirchner is likely to continue to maintain a more interventionist role
for the state, especially with regard to infrastructure and energy,
continuing to set aside free market tendencies of the 1990s. Unorthodox
measures, such as price controls, are a likelihood in order to achieve
policy goals, at least until the 2007 election and quite possibly in
2008. In terms of effects on the mining industry... continued support
and no surprises.
Related Mining in Argentina Links
The Mineral Industry of Argentina - USGS (2005) [PDF]:
MBendi, Argentina Mining - Overview:
Disclosure: The information contained herein is believed to be accurate
but this cannot be guaranteed. The analysis does not purport to be a
complete study of securities and issues mentioned herein, and readers are advised
to discuss any related purchase or sale decisions with a registered
securities broker. Companies mentioned herein may be very early stages
of development and thus can therefore be subject to business failure,
and are to be considered speculative and high risk in nature. Reports
herein are for information purposes and are not solicitations to buy or
sell any of the securities mentioned. The author may or may not hold a
position (long or short) in the securities mentioned herein. This is a
journalistic article and the author is not a registered securities
advisor, and opinions expressed should not be considered as investment
advice to buy or sell securities, but rather opinion only. The publisher
may make take journalistic liberties employing the use of pseudonyms as
reference contacts and accepting information at face value from what it
believes to be credible sources. Further disclaimer and disclosure
regarding various aspects of this report / article including
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