To boost exports, Argentina needs the mining sector – cenbank chief

To boost exports, Argentina needs the mining sector – cenbank chief

Argentina is on track to reach US$84bn in exports this year, with potential to reach US$100bn in the subsequent years, for which, however, mining sector development will be crucial, central bank president Miguel Pesce said.

During the first session of the mining roundtable, which is part of the 2030 development plan, Pesce said “for every US$1 the sector invests, US$4 of surplus are generated.” 

The roundtable was created to facilitate public debate and provide information about mining, including import and export data, on taxes, employment, projects, regulations, and others.

Mining is among the country’s strongest sectors. In 2021, exports amounted to US$3.23bn, according to the productive development ministry. Exports in Q1 reached US$850mn, up 32.2% year-on-year. Yet, productive development minister Matías Kulfas told the roundtable that Chile’s mining exports are far higher, reaching US$60bn in 2021.

He suggested reflection is needed on ideas "that mining is an extractive activity that leaves nothing for the country. Nearly 80% of mining investment remains in Argentina because local suppliers are hired, salaries are being paid."

And federal mining chief Fernanda Ávila said at the event that the government aims to improve market oversight and taxation to achieve fiscal stability and transparency as the sector is set for a boom, especially due to growing demand for minerals needed for the clean energy transition.

The head of public revenue authority Afip, Mercedes Marcó del Pont, said at the roundtable the entity will promote mining technologies to enhance industrial autonomy, while Argentina has a historic opportunity to reconfigure mining value chains and move from the mineral export to the industrialization stage.

Franco Mignacco, president of mining chamber CAEM said the goal is to triple exports, added that the industry provides 83,000 jobs and contributes to poverty reduction. Referring to mining transparency initiative EITI, which Argentina joined in 2019, Mignacco said, “almost 90% of mining companies have joined this initiative and have committed to deliver reliable information on their businesses.”

Argentina is among only a few Latin American countries that are part of EITI, which demands members to disclose information related to permit granting, income derived from an asset, and how resources are used for public benefit.

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