ARGENTINA - TAX IN MINING

Since the 1990s, Argentina’s mining industry has experienced a fast-paced development and become one of the leading business sectors in the country. Argentina’s mining reserves are comparable to those of Chile, Bolivia and Peru, and offer opportunities in minerals such as gold, silver, copper, molybdenum, uranium, lithium and rare earths. This document summarizes the key tax aspects of the industry.

I. INTRODUCTION

Since the early 1990s and as a consequence of a new mining policy enacted in Argentina, foreign companies active in the mining industry started to consider Argentina as an investment target. This trend has continued ever since but with different degrees of intensity due to internal (political, economic and provincial legislation) and international (metal prices and the economic crisis) factors.

Argentina still offers large areas that have not yet been explored and possess a wide range of minerals, including metals and industrial minerals, etc., and it is expected that the mining sector will continue to grow and become one of the most relevant sectors for the economy.

II. LEGAL FRAMEWORK

Mining regulations in Argentina are mainly established in the Mining Code, although others may be found in local procedure laws and some special federal laws. It contains regulations in connection with general extent of permits, technical requirements, permit-holder obligations as well as permit limitations.

Property in and to mining natural resources belongs to the provinces. Each province has its own mining procedural law. Even though provincial laws and regulations cannot alter the rights and obligations established by the Mining Code, the process for obtaining and maintaining exploration permits varies slightly from one province to another.

As owners of the mining property, provinces are entitled to the payment of:

  • An annual canon: determined based on the category of the substance and the extension of the area. During the first five years of the concession  the concessionaire could not be subject to any other tax on the mining property or the assets used to exploit it.

The lack of payment of the mining fee could give grounds to the authority for the termination of the mining concession even though this would not apply automatically and prior notice has to be given to the concessionaire.

  • Royalties: determined by the regulations of the jurisdiction where the mine is located.

In addition to the Mining Code and the provincial regulations, Law 24,196 and its amendments (hereinafter, “Mining Investment Regime”) sets forth a promotional regime for investments in activities such as prospection, exploration, development, extraction and refining of mineral ore. Since it was enacted, the Mining Investment Regime has generated significant mining prospecting and exploration activities in Argentina as it provides special benefits that reduce the economic burden and risk of those activities.

III. MINING INVESTMENT REGIME

1. Benefits

The benefits of the Mining Investment Regime relevant to the prospecting and exploration stage of a project are the following:

  • Income Tax benefits such as (i) double deduction of prospecting and exploration expenses in the assessment of the Income Tax; (ii) option to choose an accelerated depreciation system of fixed assets and property, land and equipment; and (iii) exemption on profits from mines and mining rights contributed in consideration for participations in the relevant company’s equity.
  • Option to capitalize 50% of proved mining reserves.
  • Royalty cap at 3% of the mine-mouth value of extracted minerals.
  • Reimbursement of Value Added Tax (hereinafter, “VAT”);
  • Exemption from the payment of customs duties and customs fees for capital assets used in mining activities.
  • Fiscal, foreign exchange and custom-duties stability for the mining project for a 30-year term, as from the filing date of the feasibility study, with exception made for VAT (hereinafter, "Fiscal Stability").

Fiscal Stability means that companies covered by these regulations may not have their overall tax burden  increased. The tax burden is set at a national, provincial or municipal level (provided the province has adhered to this law).

2. Obligations

  • The Mining Investment Regime sets forth the following obligations and formalities to be observed by its beneficiaries:
  • Filing of corporate, tax and mining information and documents with the application to become a beneficiary, and filing of annual updates thereafter.
  • Filing of annual affidavits on forecasted investments; investments made in the concluded term; use of double deduction of expenses and accelerated depreciation for the assessment of the Income Tax.
  • Creation of a special accounting provision for the prevention and mitigation of environmental damages and the filing of an annual affidavit reporting this provision.
  • Use of the equipment subject to any of the above benefits only for mining purposes (i.e.: goods exempted from custom duties when imported, assets over which income-tax double deduction or accelerated depreciation was applied, etc.). However, with the authorization of the National Mining Secretariat, such goods can be transferred to other individuals and legal entities registered in the promotional regime.

If you have any question or comment regarding the foregoing, do not hesitate to contact us by calling at (54-11) 4326-7386, via fax to (54-11) 4326-7396 or via e-mail addressed to godoy@berettagodoy.com or balzano@berettagodoy.com.

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