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Montevideo, February 23rd 2019 - 13:02 UTC

Potassium mining project that could make Argentina top exporter is suspended

Friday, June 24th 2011 - 19:46 UTC
Full article 2 comments
Mendoza Hydrocarbons Sub-Secretary Walter Vazquez is holding discussions with Vale representatives Mendoza Hydrocarbons Sub-Secretary Walter Vazquez is holding discussions with Vale representatives

The government of the Argentine province of Mendoza is studying documents presented by Vale that could allow the Brazilian miner to continue with a 4.6 billion US dollars potassium project, said an official in Mendoza.

The Rio Colorado project was suspended late last week when the Mendoza government accused Vale of breaching local labour laws. Vale later said the company presented “additional information” that the Mendoza government had requested pertaining to compliance with local regulations.

“We won't lift the suspension until we get to analyze in detail all the documents they have provided” said a spokesperson for the Mendoza's government.

Mendoza's Hydrocarbons sub-secretary Walter Vazquez held meetings earlier this week with Vale executives in Buenos Aires in which the parties were due to discuss the reasons for the suspension and a timeline to analyze the documents.

Mendoza ordered the suspension of the project on grounds Vale may be breaching labour laws and because it failed to provide a timeline detailing the different stages of the investment.

The Mendoza official admitted the spat with Vale had become a “sensitive” issue, as provincial politicians jockey for position ahead of regional and presidential elections in October

However, the additional information requested by Mendoza was described as “not complicated”, and said the regional government is under pressure to promptly find a solution.

The Rio Colorado project, which is scheduled to start operations in the second half of 2013, has an initial production capacity of 2.4 million tons of potassium per year and a total cost of around 4.6 billion USD. The project could make Argentina one of the world's top five potassium producers.

Categories: Economy, Investments, Argentina.

Top Comments

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  • GeoffWard

    It would seem that regional groups across South America are realising that they can hold up and hold to ransome major economic projects and programmes.
    The rationale is to win in regional politics, to win 'development' resources for the region, and use all 'indigenous' arguments to support 'the cause'.

    In this Argentinean potassium mining case, as in the case of the cancelled Peruvian hydroelectric projects, it is easy to postpone, cancel, and vacillate, because the projects are 'Brasilian'.

    Smile the smile of the friend, but cut the Achilles of the most successful player on the block wherever possible.
    After all . . . . this is South America.

    Jun 26th, 2011 - 12:17 am 0
  • LloydCata

    Vale was itself a neoliberal theft from the people of Brazil when it was “privatized for a pittance”. The people of Brazil still have not forgotten and Vale is held to higher standard being such a lightening rod for “indigenous issues”.

    Maybe it is with some influence from Brazil Workers Party(PT) that the labor laws are upheld, but this is surely only the first of incidents where corporate management must not treat workers and conditions with impunity.

    Too bad workers in North America are finding such hard times, and have not progressed economically or politically for 40 years. Constantly under pressure from US-sponsored oligarchs and now politically and judicially pressured to give up their rights.

    I look forward to the day that when the workers and the “indigenous peoples” join together for economic and political justice.

    Jun 26th, 2011 - 01:42 pm 0
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