May 24, 2012
-- Nicaragua participated in the Latin America Down Under Conference held in Sydney, Australia during May 22nd and 23rd, with the objective of promoting investment opportunities in the country’s growing mining sector.
Presenting at the event was Javier Chamorro, Executive Director of PRONicaragua, the official investment promotion agency of Nicaragua. “Foreign direct investment is now 13 percent of GDP, the highest rate in Latin America, so Australian mining entities coming into our market have a secure investment in an operational, geological and socially positive environment,”
he stated, adding that “this is particularly so as our government has set the mining sector as a priority for our country’s development and Australia as a target partner.”
Although there isn’t a bilateral trade agreement between Nicaragua and Australia at the moment, Chamorro says signing one will be a top priority. “Nicaragua is an attractive investment destination, particularly for Australian resources players as under President Ortega’s administration, the government of Nicaragua is seeking to capture back the opportunities to grow a modern mining era,” Chamorro said.
Chamorro specified that “this is particularly so when you consider that less than 10 percent of Nicaragua is under exploration and all current mining is confined to three historical mining districts, so the upside is high”.
In Nicaragua, mining concessions are granted for 25-year terms and production carries a 3 percent royalty rate and tax is set at 30 percent. Additionally, the country offers an attractive legal framework that promotes foreign investment through its Law for the Promotion of Foreign Investment (Law 344), which allows for full ownership of assets.
Additionally, the World Bank recently recognized that Nicaragua is now the top location in Central America offering investor protection and one of the 30 top investment climate reformers in the world.
Nicaragua's mining sector has experienced a successful development, with gold exports reaching US$364.1 million in 2011, surpassing last year’s mark and representing an astonishing 75 percent growth. Silver exports also reached a new high in 2011 with US$9.4 million in sales, a 109 percent increase in comparison to 2010. The sector has also benefited the country by creating over 4,000 job opportunities.
According to Mining News Net’s website “with a 90 percent jump in foreign investment last year alone, Nicaragua may well be to Latin America what Mongolia is to Asia”.