ECONOMY US$18B HANGS IN THE BALANCE, MINERS CLAIM

Macri to lead charge on "Glaciers Law" reform

Extraction projects have stalled in Andes mountains since 2010 because of restrictions set out in the existing law. Mining leaders and unions want deregulation and greater clarity to encourage investment.

Stock photo of the Andes Mountains range
Stock photo of the Andes Mountains range Foto:Julinied-WikiCommons

The Mauricio Macri government is warming up for another heated battle over law reform, this time regarding the so-called “Glaciers Law” which has effectively stalled extraction projects in Argentina’s rich Andes mountains region since 2010.

The plan would soften existing restrictions on mining projects by implementing an arbitration process that would seek to strike a balance between environmental protection and economic activity, the La Nación newspaper reported.

President Macri yesterday met in Government House with Barrick CEO Fernando Gioannoni; business leaders including Eduardo Elsztain and Carlos Miguens; head of the CAEM mining chamber Marcelo Álvarez; unionists; and environmentalists. He was joined by his Energy and Mining minister Juan José Aranguren and Labour Minister Jorge Triaca.

A potential US$18 billion worth of investment in the country’s mining sector depended on reforms to the Glaciers Law, the business and mining sector leaders told Macri.

Any drastic modifications to the “Glaciers Law” is set to be met with fierce resistance from environmentalists.

In 2008, then president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner experienced backlash over her veto of a law to increase environment protections, prompting criticism even from within her own left-leaning government. 

The subsequent 2010 law was a compromise over two similar proposals. However, much of the legislation remains unimplemented.
Proponents of the changes, including many voices from within the union movement, say reform is needed to clarify uncertainties surrounding the law and to encourage investment.

-TIMES