Argentina's Mendoza province signs with Chinese firm to reactivate Río Colorado potash project

Friday, December 21, 2018

Press release from the Government of Mendoza published in English with automated translation.

It was after the technical visit to the site. Minister Kechner and Professor Chengguang aim to make the project truncated in 2013 viable.

Begin to take the first firm steps to reactivate the project of extraction of potassium salts Rio Colorado, Malargüe. To the meeting that yesterday the Governor had with members of the Institute of Research in Potassium Mining of Shanghai, a tour of the deposit is added, headed by the Minister of Economy, Infrastructure and Energy Martin Kerchner, and the head of the institute, Wei Chengguang .

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The visit serves as a kick to start the technical studies in order to give new viability to the project. That is why, then, a cooperation agreement was signed to start the process of exchange of techniques and knowledge of potassium technology.

For this, officials of the Undersecretariat of Energy and Mining will be set up this weekend at the mine with the Chinese technicians to begin with the tasks of state analysis, which will lead to a technical report.

After the government receives the results, a co-investment strategy will be designed that will grow in complexity as it develops.

"We are conducting a technical visit for a possible commercial future, we will use the best techniques, equipment and investment so that the potash project benefits the people of Mendoza and complete cooperation between the two countries," Chengguang said.

For his part, Kercher said: "Our job was to make reasonable a megaproject and shrink it to make something more viable with concrete possibilities."

Is that, according to the minister, at the time the mine closed there were unclear variables, such as logistics to get the product, which required large investments

"We have looked for alternatives to move the product, such as the use of the Roca train, which will be used to bring the sand from the Vaca Muerta project, which lowers costs," Kerchner said.

Another of the variables that has been taken into account a priori is energy. Thus, as the project grows more energy will be needed to feed it, which could be closed with the production of Portezuelo del Viento.

"This is a long-term initiative that, when international potassium conditions improve, we hope to have strategic partners who know a lot about the issue to develop a successful and employment-generating project," the minister concluded.