Pan American operates one mine and one development project in Argentina.
Both properties are located in remote areas where the landscape is arid and characterized by low-lying mesetas or plateaus, with broad flat valleys and a few small towns with limited population. The climate is dry to arid continental and the region is well known for sustaining fierce westerly winds, in particular from August to Ocotober, when gusts can reach up to 170 kph. In this environment, Pan American has been able to attract and retain qualified employees by providing competitive compensation and benefits, as well as well-organized and comprehensive community relations programs carried out by Minera Triton, operator of the Manantial Espejo mine, and Minera Argenta, operator of the Navidad development project.
The following are some of the most important community relations initiatives currently in place in Argentina:
In Chubut,Minera Argenta continually supports local health centres. In 2011 the Company has donated portable diagnostic equipment for the detection of cardiac conditions and is currently assisting logistically with house calls carried out by resident doctors to communities in the department of Gastre, by providing fuel and transportation.
In Santa Cruz, Minera Triton recently contributed to the improvement of the Gobernador Gregores district hospital by building and equipping a new treatment room dedicated exclusively to hematology. Pan American also teamed up with the hospital to organize the first Hematology Day to educate the population and raise awareness of blood conditions and their treatment.
In the area of nutrition, Minera Triton has teamed up with the restaurant association to carry out a comprehensive oral health campaign. One of the first campaign activities was a seminar on healthy eating habits.
In Chubut, Minera Argenta is working with several local schools to develop education programs for students of basic and intermediate levels. The courses include the study local paleontology, astronomy and history in the Patagonia region. The program also includes the creation of science clubs to allow students to learn scientific methodology and basic concepts through hands-on experience. The community of Gan Gan was the first one to open the "Active Sciences Club" and the communities of Gastre, Lagunita Salada and Blancutre are now in the process of creating their own clubs.
In Santa Cruz, Minera Triton continues to support the improvement of local education infrastructure and programs. In 2011, the Company donated new equipment for the playground at Gobernador Gregores' day care and provided funding to the local municipal scholarship program, which now benefits 15 students. Upcoming initiatives in Santa Cruz include an agreement with the Secretary of Mining to provide the necessary equipment for a Jewelry workshop.
One of the most important aspects of community development is the development of community infrastructure. In Chubut, Minera Argenta is currently working with the Provincial Labour Secretary to build a new community bakery. The new bakery is being constructed on land donated by the community and will serve as a baking school and shop.
To improve the communications network in the area, Argenta has signed an agreement with the rural community and the technical co-operative to install a new cell phone tower, which will service the small communities in the area. Argenta also helped the community of Gan Gan to launch their own radio station, "Radio Privamera". The station now operates out of a refurbished building, which was equipped with all new consoles, computers and other necessary equipment.
In Gobernador Gregores, Minera Triton has signed an agreement with the "Gregores Development Agency" to implement a very comprehensive program for the local production of food in the Valley of Gregores. The program's first phase includes the construction of a new slaughter house for local cattle, which is currently in construction.
In Chubut, Minera Argenta has a firm commitment to support local businesses. The Company achieves this by sourcing supplies and services from local businesses and by helping small sheep ranchers to improve the health and quality of their herds. For this purpose, Argenta has implemented a veterinary community health kit for the community of Blancutre, with all the supplies necessary to prevent and treat illnesses in sheep and goats. The kit will be managed and refilled by the community.
Argenta has also contributed to the improvement of community shearing facilities. Future plans include to the construction of a new weaving workshop where locals will learn to produce wool and textiles with fibers from their herds.