Argentina tax makes El Pachon uncertain -Xstrata

Mon Mar 3, 2008 2:44pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Argentina's decision to levy an export duty on mining companies puts into question Xstrata Copper's possible $2-billion El Pachon investment there, the chief operating officer of Xstrata Copper Canada said on Monday.

"An export duty will obviously create an extra obstacle for the project to be economically viable but, perhaps more importantly, an investment in El Pachon will be harder to justify from a country risk perspective due to the present uncertainty about the stability of Argentina's regulatory framework," Claude Ferron told Reuters in an email.

(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Bernadette Baum)