Sunday, May 3, 2009

PRESIDENTIAL VISIT Pascua Lama: "We have overcome the obstacles"

President's message was clear: The state has done all he had to do.
The President took the head and said: "I forgot ... UUUh Pascua Lama."

A few seconds he had finished his speech and a few steps from the main stage, Cristina Fernandez realized he had forgotten to mention that the road was clear for Pascua Lama. The Argentine government has done all he had to do to start the first binational mining project in the world. It was something that was expected to hear the President say in his speech on Thursday. But forgot.

Is that while the resolution of tax-the last item remaining to be resolved and had been circulated the day before both the Ministry of Mining of the nation and from the company Barrick, owner of the project, this assertion of authority the country, the state was opening the doors to the announcement of the company.

In an exclusive interview to Diario de Cuyo, the President made it clear that now is that Barrick must announce the launch of Pascua Lama.

There is much speculation about the start of Pascua Lama ...

-Explaining these speculations.

-Que Barrick's decision to make the investment soon ...

No, no, no, no. What has occurred in these days is that they have overcome the obstacles that had arisen from a lack of tax agreement between Chile and Argentina regarding Pascua Lama. As Pascua Lama is not only a major undertaking by the magnitude of investment, but is the first feature in the bi world. There was never a mining project of this nature and this requires an institutional engineering in many areas, tax, labor, environmental, everything must be carefully agreed and care. What we have achieved in this last week is the last obstacle to overcome was the issue of taxation between the two countries. Now it is a decision of an entrepreneur.

In a place like San Juan, which has nearly 80% of its area covered by mountains, the mining enterprise must be fully sustainable and environmental stewardship. This can be done because we have done in Santa Cruz with a gold mine, Cerro Vanguardia, where it has been careful about the total environment and all. The important thing is not to believe that progress can be made at the expense of the environment or have a misconception of the environment.

The other day I was reading a book by a French saying that one of the first books in the world of environmental principles was published in Nazi Germany. What do you mean by that? What matters is the objective that both are met, because we need to work, development and progress of our societies, while also looking after the environment in which these societies live. And I think that can be done, it is not impossible because there are rules to comply with laws, environmental care and progress to be built.

- But when it announces Pascua Lama?

If I were the owner of the company had already begun. But I can not vouch for the company, I speak mostly of what makes the obligation of the state of development management. Thank you.

When the President finished his sentence with a thanks, it was because he was not going to talk more, whatever happens. But had the final point to the role of the state to which the work will be announced in coming days by the company.

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