BUENOS AIRES (miningweekly.com) – Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner last week signed a landmark General Integration Treaty with its Chilean counterpart, President Michelle Bachelet.
The agreement represents a “historic” moment and a new era in the bilateral relationship between the neighbouring countries, Argentina's National Mining Secretariat said in a statement.
The pact covers economic, social security, education and cultural aspects, as well as science and technology.
The two Heads of State also signed a Border Cooperation Agreement, and Fernández de Kirchner commented that relations between the two countries have never been better.
Chile and Argentina are planning to build a trans-Andean railway and roads, and the construction of the Pascua Lama gold/silver project, which will be built by Canada's Barrick Gold, will be possible because of the cooperation between the two countries to agree on crossborder taxes for goods and services.
Pascua Lama falls under the treaty of Argentine-Chilean Mining Integration, and will straddle the border between the two countries.
Located 4 500 m above sea level, the mine is expected to create significant employment and infrastructure benefits for the local communities.
Fernández de Kirchner was in Chile for an official visit and was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Taiana, Labour Minister Carlos Tomada, Justice Minister Julio Alak, Mining Secretary Jorge Mayoral, Transportation Secretary Juan Pablo Schiavi, Culture Secretary Jorge Coscia and the governors of the provinces of Nequen, Jorge Sapag, San Juan, Jose Luis Gioja, and Mendoza, Celso Jaque.
“Mining is a central axis for the integration of both countries, for it is an activity that allows cooperation between the two nations that share one of the longest borders in the world,” Mayoral commented during the meeting.