Gold and silver mines in Argentina

Barrick’s massive Pascua-Lama project is the first bi-national mining project in the world. (Source: Barrick)

Argentina’s 23 provinces have been busy since last year taking stock of how much territory is owned by foreign investors as required by Law 26.737, the Ley de Tierras.

The measure, which established a cap of 15% on foreign ownership of rural land, sought to “protect Argentine natural resources, as a strategic policy for the country within a global context of demographic growth and rising food and energy demand.”

And while the percentage of Argentine land in foreign hands is greater than previously believed (See Foreigners Own The Land Equivalent of New Jersey in Argentina), the actual percentage, 7.7%, is only half of the recently established legal limit, 15%.

According to iProfesional, foreign investors currently own 51.8 million of Argentina’s 667 million acres and can still buy another 49.4 million acres. Viewed another way, foreign investors own the land equivalent of Kansas in Argentina and can still buy the land equivalent of Nebraska or South Dakota.

Still, just because foreign investors now have la luz verde to double down on land holdings in Argentina doesn’t mean they will. Brazil’s Vale just walked away from its Mendoza potash mine after plowing over US$2.2 billion into the project, while WSJ’s Shane Romig says Canada’s Barrick Gold could suspend construction at the US$8.5 billion Pascua-Lama gold and silver mine. (Full Story in Spanish)

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