August 26, 2019 / 6:15 PM / 21 days ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Argentina opposition candidate Fernandez meets with mining companies -sources

(Corrects company name to Antofalla Minerals in paragraph 6, (not Antofagasta Minerals))

By Cassandra Garrison

BUENOS AIRES, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Argentina's opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez met with mining companies on Monday in capital Buenos Aires to discuss his plans for the sector, two sources who attended the meeting said.

Fernandez, the front-runner for October's presidential election, told the companies that his team has been working on a plan to benefit the Vaca Muerta shale oil play and the country's mining sector, that produces copper, lithium, gold, and silver, one of the sources added.

Fernandez also said he wanted to promote the flow of dollars into Argentina, without putting controls on taking money out, the source said, adding that his comments were "reassuring."

"If I do my job right, companies will want to keep their money in Argentina," Fernandez said.

A spokesperson for Fernandez said he did not have information about the meeting.

Representatives from companies including Glencore Plc , Antofalla Minerals, Posco and Galaxy Lithium America, attended the meeting, the sources said. Some provincial government officials were also present.

The mining companies opened the meeting, attended by between 30 and 40 people in a hotel in downtown Buenos Aires, with remarks directed to Fernandez, asking for continuity in the sector, ease in importing equipment and taking money out of the country, the source said.

For his part, Fernandez said his goal was to ensure continuity in the sector for 10 years, and added that mining regulation would continue at the provincial level.

He said he considered mining an opportunity, rather than a problem, and vowed not to be an obstacle to the sector.

The comments were some of the strongest signals yet by Fernandez on his plans for the sector amid investor concerns his government, if elected, could revert to the interventionist policies of former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who is now his vice presidential running mate.

Mining investments plummeted when Fernandez de Kirchner, who governed Argentina from 2007-2015, imposed a 5% tax on mining exports and banned companies from sending profits to foreign headquarters.

Free-markets proponent President Mauricio Macri ditched trade and currency controls, including the 5% tax on mining exports, but later introduced a tax across all exports as part of the fiscal goals under the $57-billion IMF standby agreement.

Reporting by Cassandra Garrison

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