ENVIRONMENTAL LAW No cyanide or mercury in Ro Negro

ARGENTINA The use of cyanide or mercury to recover gold is now banned in the province of Ro Negro, effectively h...

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ARGENTINA The use of cyanide or mercury to recover gold is now banned in the province of Ro Negro, effectively halting mine development believes Argentina's mining investors chamber, CAEM.

"In this particular case, due to the type of mineralization in the province, telling [companies] they cannot use cyanide is like telling them they cannot mine," said CAEM general manager Vctor Di Meglio. Miners need to use cyanide to make gold mining profitable in Ro Negro and until the law is revoked, there will be no mining development, he pointed out.

Ro Negro's decision was based on a political factors which did not take into account other gold mining projects in Argentina like Swiss company XSTRATA's Alumbrera gold-copper mine, he added.

Regarding law suits that could be filed against the province, Di Meglio believes companies "will not just sit and do nothing as this is a matter of legal security."

The decision by Ro Negro's authorities violates the national mining investment law, so now the provincial decision must be studied to determine what actions can be taken. Caem will not sit on the sidelines but support all actions taken by miners as companies are the ones that must react given their interest in the matter, he added.

Operations at the Calcatreu gold project owned by Canadian junior AQUILINE RESOURCES could be impacted by the law. Company officials have not yet responded request for comments on the issue.

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