MAC: Mines and Communities

Argentina: Esquel Assembly rejects removal of mining windfall tax

Published by MAC on 2016-02-18
Source: Statement,, Buenos Aires Herald

National government ignores struggles against mega-mining

The new elected president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, removed a 5% tax on mining exports introduced on the last days of Nestor Kirchner administration in December 2007.

The wealthy businessman, former president of Boca Juniors fotball team and Buenos Aires mayor, also appointed Daniel Meilan as the new Secretary of Mining.

Meilan had previously served in the post back in the 1990s, when mining neoliberal framework was established by Carlos Menem government.

Esquel Assembly rejects removal of mining windfall tax and demands national ban on mega-mining

Declaration of the Esquel Assembly rejecting the elimination of mining windfall national tax.

13 February 2016

Esquel, Chubut, Argentina - Faced with the removal of a mining windfall national tax announced on February 12 by President Mauricio Macri, with the agreement of governors of San Juan and Catamarca provinces, the Esquel Assembly states that this political decision:

- Deepens the plunder scheme of looting and pollution initiated and backed by the Mining Investment Act of Menem government and subsequent regulations enacted under Kirchner government, which favours mining corporations and concentrated economic powers only.
- Ignores scientific and factual evidence on the incompatibility of mining and environmental protection.
- Threatens the health and the lives of people directly and indirectly affected by mining operations.
- Violates the rights of Nature and the human rights of all the affected population, including indigenous peoples.
- Ignores the social struggles against mega-mining that communities from western Patagonia sustained for years.

Therefore, we:

- Reaffirm that granting this kind of benefits to transnational mining corporations violates constitutional principles and legislation relating to the protection of human rights.
- Strongly condemn the political decision of the national government, agreed with governors of two provinces, of removing the mining windfall tax.
- Ratify the urgency of banning mega-mining, and aim for which we have been mobilizing on the stress for more than thirteen years.

Translated from Spanish source:

Argentina’s new government scraps mining taxes

Cecilia Jamasmie

12 February 2016

Miners struggling to cut costs amid plunging metal prices just got some help from Argentine President Mauricio Macri, as he announced the government has revoked a 5% tax imposed by the previous administration on mining and energy companies.

Macri, who took office in December on a platform of repealing government intervention that scared investors away, unveiled the measure during a visit to the mining province of San Juan, state news agency Telam reported (in Spanish). He later announced it on Twitter:

"This is the end for mining taxes. We will help the sector generate more jobs."

Top gold producers Barrick Gold and Goldcorp as well as billionaire Ivan Glasenberg’s Glencore, AngloGold Ashanti and Yamana Gold are among the benefitted by the move.

“Eliminating export duties will have a direct benefit to the state. San Juan is one of the provinces with the largest mining resources in the country. It’s important to have a federal vision about those resources,” Jaime Berge, head of San Juan’s Mining Chamber, told Buenos Aires Herald.

Macri’s government has moved quickly to liberalize market conditions and normalize the country's economy. In only two months, the Argentine government has relaxed exchange controls and let the peso float, eliminated export taxes on mining products and lifted restrictions on the repatriation on earnings and dividends.

Argentina produces silver, gold, copper, aluminum and lead. It also has important potash and uranium reserves.

Macri announces elimination of mining export duties

President Mauricio Macri speaks in the locality of Barreal to announce the elimination of export duties for the mining sector.

12 February 2016

President Mauricio Macri today announced the elimination of export duties for metallic and non-metallic minerals during a visit to the province of San Juan, a key mining district in the country.

The head of state arrived in the San Juan at around 11 am this morning and later headed to the locality of Barreal where he hold a meeting with Governor Sergio Uñac and other regional leaders.

Other officials and provincial leaders taking part in today’s meeting were Governor of the province of Catamarca, Lucía Corpacci; Governor of the province of La Rioja, Sergio Casas; Governor of the province of Mendoza, Alfredo Cornejo; Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio and PRO party lawmaker Eduardo Cáceres.

Macri later led an official rally to commemorate the crossing of the Andes by José de San Martín. There, he announced the elimination of export duties for the mining sector saying the tax “violated the games’ rules.”

“For more than 10 years, they took resources out from San Juan to give it to the Nation,” he added.

The elimination of the export duties won’t come as something new for the mining sector as Macri had already anticipated the measure since he was elected. During the campaign, Macri praised the mining sector and highlighted its potential, describing it as a strategic resource for the country.

Many of the restrictions questioned by mining companies have been eliminated, such as import and export restrictions, prohibitions on repatriating profits and foreign currency controls — but elimination of export duties is still pending.

It’s not clear yet how the more flexible rules for the mining sector and the increase in projects will square up with a promise for stricter environmental regulations, none of which have been announced yet despite Macri’s promise to keep close tabs on the environmental impact of mining projects.

The country has about US$14.5 billion in mining projects that have been waiting for more favourable rules in order to move forward, according to a recent analysis by BNamericas. Of the US$14.5 billion, US$13.77 billion are copper projects and US$747 million are gold projects.

Multinational companies that work in Argentina, including Goldcorp, Pan American Silver, Silver Standard and McEwen Mining, have already celebrated that many of their demands have been addressed.

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