BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Canadian miner Pan American Silver (PAAS.TO) is “optimistic” that it can negotiate the reopening of its Navidad mine, which was closed by officials in the Argentine province of Chubut, the company’s Chairman Ross Beaty said on Thursday.
The project has been on hold since 2013 when it ran afoul of provincial rules banning the use of cyanide in open-pit mining.
Chubut, in Argentina’s mineral-rich Patagonia region, is one of seven Argentine provinces that ban both cyanide and open-pit mining on their territory.
“I remain optimistic that we will find a solution that works for the government of Chubut,” Beaty told Reuters on the sidelines of a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Buenos Aires.
“I would like to see that they give us the benefit of the doubt, let us proceed and if we have problems, if we really are hurting the water or the air or the people, shut us down, close the mine. If that happens I understand, but it’s not going to happen,” he added.
Pan American Silver is set to invest $1 billion in the Navidad mine if Chubut authorities give the go-ahead, Beaty added.
“Every year for at least 20 years, the mine will generate about $400 million of revenue, most of which will stay in Argentina,” the executive added.
Reporting by Juliana Castilla, writing by Hugh Bronstein, editing by G Crosse