In Mining

On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, AMI’s Mining Coffee Chat addressed the impact of glacier protection legislation on mining investment in Argentina and Chile. Argentina´s National Glacier Law has become a highly politicized issue that has caused uncertainty for mining investment — particularly for major copper projects in the Andes. Glacier protection legislation is also advancing through Congress in Chile.

In our Coffee Chat, Sergio Arbeleche and Sebastián Vedoya (Partners at Brochue), Pablo Wainstein (Senior Civil Hydraulic Engineer, BGC Engineering Inc), and Patricio Leyton (Partner at FerradaNehme) joined AMI Managing Director John Price in a fascinating discussion on Argentina’s National Glacier Law and the proposed legislation in Chile to assess risks to mining investment in the respective countries.

Among the key highlights of the Chat:

  • Argentina’s provincial governments oversee the resources and the mining & environmental legislation within their territories. In essence, glacier laws are primarily concerned about water management. The National Glacier Law in Argentina has become a highly polemical issue that has caused uncertainty for mining investment, particularly with respect to major copper projects located in the Andes.
  • Key components of the law include the mandate of a national glacier inventory of geo-forms that have existed for at least two years and measure at least one hectare. The law forbids all activity that could impact the geo-forms and mandates a revaluation of activities already in place.  The law’s language is vague and leaves room for interpretation.
  • Ricardo Villalba led the design of the national glacier inventory, and is under investigation for favoring a mining company during this process. Nevertheless, the outcome of the investigation will not directly affect the inventory’s legal validity.
  • To mitigate risks posed by law and advance with project development, mining companies in Argentina are engaging with all the relevant stakeholders and are applying innovative mining processes beyond international reproach.
  • Investment due diligence should focus on above-the-ground risks, particularly local & community risks. Mining companies bear the responsibility of defending their projects and of educating the public.
  • In Chile, the new constitution itself will not likely be a vehicle of great change in the country because of the high hurdles it takes to actually reform it.
  • In an ideal world, there should be a better collaborative understanding in between regulators and projects to align and debunk myths, and all parties should understand that protection is not the same as preservation.

In addition to these main points, the Chat also focused on questions from the audience. Click below to see the full Mining Coffee Chat, including detailed, insightful answers from the panel to audience questions.

Mining Coffee Chats are monthly meetings in which AMI explores important topics affecting the mining industry. The Chats are held via Zoom during the first Tuesday of every month at 11 a.m. ET (New York) time, usually featuring expert speakers and always allowing for attendees to obtain answers to the challenges that face them during COVID-19 and beyond.

If you have not already registered for Mining Coffee Chats, please click here to do so.

To find out more about AMI’s consulting work in the area of risk management for mining in different areas, please explore our recent webinar on rebuilding sustainable operations post COVID-19, case studies, our whitepaper on 7 key risks, and our analysis articles, which cover topics such as industry outlooks, political risk, operational risk, reputational risk and more.

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