Trade Shows Display Facets of Latin America Mining

Exponor, held in Antofagasta, Chile, attracted an
estimated 20,000 visitors
E&MJ’s Latin America contributing editor, and editor of sister magazine Equipo Minero, Oscar Martinez, reports on two of the region’s most popular and well-attended expositions.

In late April, Buenos Aires hosted ARMINERA—Argentina’s mining exposition— which has become one of the largest mining events in South America. The exposition comprised four pavilions and attracted more than 350 exhibitors. It’s estimated that more than 5,000 people visited the show, organized by the Argentine Chamber of Mining Entrepreneurs.

The exposition’s principal objective is to encourage investment in the country’s nascent mining sector. “ARMINERA is the best indication that the country is doing good and succeeding in the mining business at this time. Every one of us is somehow part of this activity,” said Jorge Mayoral, Argentine Secretary of Mining.

The event also offered a selection of seminars and presentations. Minera Triton, for example, described its Manantial Espejo mine, which began production in 2008. The mine is the eighth for Canadian producer Pan American Silver. Located in southern Santa Cruz, construction of the $185 million gold and silver project took nearly two years.

Another well-attended session, titled “Minería Siglo XXI” (Mining in the XXI Century), sponsored by SEGEMAR, the Argentine mining and geological survey, addressed geological topics, starting with a geo-environmental study of the Farellón Negro volcanic complex (located near Minera Lumbrera) and including an analysis of the Agua Rica orebody.

Argentina has vast mineral resources and huge mining potential. Ongoing mining operations, ambitious large-scale projects, and new investments lead many to believe that mining will only play a larger future role in the Argentinean economy. The investment in mining has grown 1,014% within the period 2003-2008. Similarly, mining-related exports grew 275%, amounting to 12,375 million pesos ($3.3 billion), while mining-related employment grew 259%. It’s estimated that as much as 80% of mining-related revenues are returned to the Argentinean economy, which supports social programs to develop the infrastructure for health care, education, utilities, transportation and communications.

The Chilean coast city of Antofagasta traditionally plays host to the biennial trade show Exponor, this year held in mid-June. With more than 560 exhibitors, Exponor is quickly growing from a regional mining conference to major copper exposition. The event is organized by the Industrials Association of Antofagasta (AIA) and sponsored by the Government of Chile through the Ministry of Mining; the Chilean Economic Development Agency; the Chilean Mining Council; the Sociedad Chilena de Minería (SONAMI, the Chilean mining society) and the regional government of Antofagasta. It’s estimated that Exponor attracted more than 20,000 visitors, making this event an unqualified success in the eyes of its sponsors.

Chilean Minister of Mining, Santiago Gonzalez, opened the exposition. He said that the show offers exceptional opportunities for exhibitors, particularly now while the mining business faces turbulent times caused by the variations in the global economy. “Here’s the answer from the mining sector, with more than 500 exhibitors in a meeting that generates economic activity in the capital region of the Chilean mining,” Gonzalez said.

During the show, a lively debate occurred at a seminar organized with the assistance of Universidad de Antofagasta, which discussed the possible use of nuclear energy to meet the region’s future power needs. Nuclear power represents an option to diversify power sources, especially in the northern region of Chile, where most of the electricity generated is used by mining and mineral processing operations.

As featured in Womp 2009 Vol 06 -