In Salta perceive a promising exploration for 2020
The numbers regarding exploratory investment rebounded from one year to the next in the northern province: US $ 80 million in 2018 and US $ 140 million in 2019. The authorities are positive regarding the next season.
“The exploration in the province is very strong and it shows in the Puna, with the requests for permits made by companies in the Secretariat and also because of the level of investments they express,” says Daniel Blasco, Secretary of Mining of the Province of Salta
According to the official, in 2018 the mining companies invested in the order of US $ 80 million in their exploration tasks and in 2019 it increased to US $ 140 million. “In some cases in the advanced exploration stage, assembling the installation to validate, test or improve the technology they are thinking of applying to their commercial plant. It must be said that, of those 140 million dollars, a little more than half is destined to the exploration of lithium, ”says Blasco.
From the distribution they begin in the coming months to ask for the details of what the companies will do, and what economic resources they will allocate for the exploration of next year. “In general, with the few data I have, with what I see, they will continue with the same idea of exploring next year. Those who had exploration plans in two, three, four years, will follow. Obviously, the macroeconomic and political condition has some effect, but I can’t say anything yet with objective data, ”he says.
LOS SALARES FULL
In the province there are 19 salaries and in all there is at least one operator interested in exploration to produce lithium derivative. “In some cases there is more than one sharing a basin. For example, in Salar del Rincón there are two companies, one large and one smaller. In Salar Centenario Ratones, the company Eramine, of the French group Eramet, is setting up its pilot plant to validate the technology and they want to start the construction of the plant in 2020. The Millennium Lithium project in Pastos Grandes, which has already presented the Report of Environmental and Social Impact for a commercial plant, is in process and we are evaluating. In the Rincón Project, a demonstration plant and a slightly larger pilot plant have been set up, have the permission of the commercial plant and are currently working with the financing of the commercial plant, ”Blasco details.
The Asian capitals landed in the province of Northern Argentina, such is the case of Posco who already built his camp on the Dead Man’s Salar. Ganfeng Lithium, which has investments in Jujuy in the Exar project together with Lithium Americas, and in Salta it is in an advanced exploration stage in the Salar de Llullaillaco.
Blasco mentions two large metal projects that the province will have: Lindero, south of Tolar Grande, whose construction is being completed and will produce gold and silver at the end of the year or in 2020 and that, in parallel, the Mansfield company continues to explore. In the Taca Taca project, the First Quantum company also continues the exploration, while the authorities evaluate the Environmental and Social Impact Report they presented at the beginning of 2019. “It is a milestone because copper and molybdenum concentrate will be produced worldwide. This year’s evaluation of that report would be ready, ”says the official.
“The Yamana Gold company came last year for the Gold-Silver Organullo project and they are also about to begin a deep exploration. Anglo American is going around in several properties in the province looking for copper. The Silex company is in a silver venture near the Salar de Pocitos with advanced exploration. And in superficial exploration, that is to say in more incipient tasks, there are many more. In borates, sodium chloride, lithium derivatives, copper, gold and silver there are about 70 projects under exploration, ”he says.
AGILITY IN PERMITS
In Salta there is the judicial system of control of the concession, that is, mining concessions are granted by the Judiciary. “The companies present their documentation and environmental studies to start the exploration before the Judge of Mines and he sends us a copy of the report so that we can evaluate it. The bureaucratic times depend on the two powers, the Judicial and the Executive. We, knowing that time is of the utmost importance for companies, give it the greatest possible rush. Let it be a prudent time so that it does not hamper investments. On average, we take about two months. The simplest leave faster and the more complex require additional time, ”says Blasco.