SANTA CRUZ, Argentina Despite the problems that can beset the start-up of a gold mine, foreign companies are still interested in investing in Argentina. The interest is probably due to low local costs, the extent of unexplored land, and the higher gold price.
The latest investment involves a Peruvian company, MAURICIO HOCHSCHILD & CIA. The company has just acquired 51% of San Jos in Santa Cruz. This was an option that MHC had arranged with the Canadian mining company MINERA ANDES when they started a joint venture in the year 2001. The agreement stated that after three years of exploration in the area, MHC could have control of San Jos after investing US$3 million in exploration and paying Minera Andes other US$400,000 annually.
The main project in San Jos, so far, is Huevos Verdes (Green Eggs), a 40,000-hectare gold and silver property which the joint venture is planning to become involved with at the development and production stages. It is believed that Huevos Verdes and its neighbour, Saavedra Occidental, have deposits of 922,000 oz of gold or 55.4 million oz of silver. The joint venture has been carrying out underground exploration in the area since last year, which has meant an investment of US$1.8 million.
Minera Andes has 12 projects in Argentina, which comprise 163,000 hectares. Most of their lands are located in the provinces of Santa Cruz, Chubut and San Juan.
Two months ago, CANADIAN TENKE MINING announced in Santa Cruz that it would pay US$2 million for the exploration rights at Alto Rico, 4,271 hectares, 130 km from Cerro Vanguardia, South African ANGLOGOLDs gold and silver deposit.
Ed note: Ms. Jimena is a freelance business writer in Mendoza, Argentina. She can be reached at [email protected]