MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Mendoza suspends exploration permits issue for 90 days

Published by MAC on 2007-06-08

Mendoza suspends exploration permits issue for 90 days

By Harvey Beltrán

Business News Americas

8th June 2007

The governor of Argentina's Mendoza province, Julio Cobos, has suspended for 90 days the granting of environmental impact approvals for new exploration and open-pit metallic mining permits.

The decree does not suspend "the mining concessions system, which stays the same. That is, the process of application and granting of concession areas is still valid," Carlos Ruiz, advisor to the provincial mining department, told BNamericas. Mining activity is not suspended, nor is the granting of concessions, he added.

Cobos ratified the decree after Mendoza's lower house of congress decided not to debate the governor's veto of a bill to suspend mining and exploration rights, sending it on to other committees for consideration and possible modification. According to Ruiz, these 90 days will serve to analyze the issue in depth. "I believe that is the [government's] goal and I think it is very reasonable," he said.

Meanwhile, governor Cobos said in a statement that "our main concern is the environment... but it is also necessary to offer a framework of security to the activity's development, always based on strict environmental norms." The governor asked legislators to vote on the bill as soon as possible "to have a norm for the future that ensures environmental quality and the development of the province."

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