Chubut may amend mining law by year end

American silver’s navidad project
Chubut may amend mining law by year end

By Peter Johnson
Herald staff

The province of Chubut will likely introduce a key change to its mining law by the end of this year, Pan American Silver CEO Geoff Burns said on Thursday in Vancouver.
The change would enable the company to go ahead with its Navidad project in Chubut although as the provincial law stands at the moment it bans all openpit mining, as well as the use of cyanide in operations.
The company said earlier this year it hoped to see progress on legislative changes by mid-2010 that would allow the openpit mine to move ahead.
But Burns said on a conference call on Thursday, that he had met with the governor of Chubut in late June, and was pleased with the discussions that took place.
The details of the talks were confidential, ‘but I will say that I know the government is completely aware of our progress and schedules for the development of Navidad,‘ Burns said.
‘And I remain absolutely confident that the needed amendment to the current mining law that will allow us to proceed will be introduced before the end of this year.‘
The province of Chubut, especially the residents of the village of Esquel, have been outspoken opponents of mining in the province, to such a point that back in 2003 they halted the development of a gold mine owned then by Meridian Gold, which was to be developed not too far from the village.
This time round Panamerican may be luckier as the Navidad mine is located on the arid Patagonian plateau and is far away from the andean region where Esquel is located and which is becoming a growing tourist attraction.
Satellite maps of the Navidad area show no built up area for miles around it.