4 copper projects to boost San Juan’s economy

Bnamericas Published: Friday, January 03, 2020

This year, four Argentine copper projects will come closer to production in San Juan province. 

San Juan's mining chamber forecast a boost for the province over the next four decades if Josemaría, Los Azules, El Pachón and Altar mines reach the production phase and the tax collection system is modified. 

According to the chamber's report, by 2060 the projects could generate around US$129bn in exports (before taxes) of which US$37.1bn would remain in San Juan and US$45.3bn represent taxes for the finance ministry. For every US$1 imported US$24 could be exported. 

Construction works for the mines could generate around 20,000 jobs. 

But to reach those numbers, the local mining chamber suggests some changes in the tax collection system. For example, authorities should allow a return of investment within 7-10 years after construction, as export duties should be charged only from the sixth year of operation.

These measures could come with a requirement to commit to exploration investment.

The report also suggests a plan to guarantee development to local providers and sustainable development to local communities, and transparency in the use of natural resources. 

BNamericas' database shows two of the four projects are in the feasibility phase, one in the pre-feasibility and one in the advanced exploration phase. 


This copper, gold and silver project (pictured), controlled by Vancouver-based Josemaría Resources, will require a US$2.7bn investment. It will have a 20-year mine life and produce 125,000t/y of copper, 230,000oz/y of gold and 790,000oz/y of silver. According to Josemaría's latest corporate presentation, the feasibility study will be completed by 1H20.  


The US$300mn copper asset controlled by Switzerland's Glencore would produce 200,000t/y of copper for 30 years. Its feasibility study is planned to be ready by 2021 and construction could start in 2020, with production starting by 2025.


Controlled by Toronto-based McEwen Mining, the US$2.3bn copper project is currently in the pre-feasibility stage and will have a 36-year mine life with a production of 185,000t/y.

Country manager Carlos Liggesmeyer told Bnamericas that the company's 2020 plans include an exploratory footprint to define the feasibility of the northern access road construction and environmental monitoring work to update the environmental impact study.


Owned by Vancouver-based Aldebaran Resources, this copper-gold project is under an advanced exploration program. Last October a new mineralized porphyry center has been discovered at the property. 

The project currently has over 14Blbs of contained copper and 4.8Moz of gold on a measured and indicated basis. 

Photo credit: Josemaría Resources

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