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    Loan for Environmental Decontamination in Argentine Mining Sector

    By Keith R | August 1, 2008

    Topics: Environmental Protection, Extractive Sectors | No Comments »

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    From the World Bank:

    World Bank Approves US$30 Million for Environmental Decontamination in Mining Sector

    The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a US$30 million loan to support an environmental program designed to assist the Government of Argentina, specifically the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA), to meet its legal obligations to remediate closed uranium mines and milling facilities in a permanent manner, consistent with internationally accepted standards for the safe disposal and handling of hazardous materials.

    The Mining Environmental Restoration Program will finance investments to remediate the closed uranium processing site in Malargüe, Mendoza, and will provide technical assistance for the planning and engineering design of up to seven additional sites.

    “The remediation and restoration of closed mine sites is a relatively new undertaking in Argentina; therefore there is little experience with mine closure and clean-up. The project will ensure that the legacy of past mining sector activities and closings are conducted according to international best practice and with proper consultation and monitoring procedures,” said Pedro Alba, World Bank Country Director for Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

    The initiative will contribute to:

    “We will be working with CNEA, government agencies and local environmental organizations to ensure the full and active participation of communities affected by the legacy of abandoned mine sites,” said Glenn Morgan, World Banktask team leader for the project.

    The Argentine mining sector represents an important component of the country’s private sector investment and is currently booming as a result of high commodity prices, competitive exchange rates, sector liberalization, and streamlining of federal and provincial administrative procedures. The World Bank is very pleased to support Argentina in improving its management of environmental risks in the mining sector.

    The US$30 million fixed-spread loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a maturity of 30 years, including a five-year grace period.

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