Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Students Hear DU LLM Graduates Discuss Natural Resources-Related Opportunities in Latin America: Opportunities Need Careful Analysis, Students Told

Two Latin American-based natural resources attorneys -- Diego Parravicini and Leonardo Rodriguez -- who earned LLM degrees at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law spoke to more than 30 current students last week in a teleconference originating from Buenos Aires, Argentina. The two gentlemen presented on the opportunities and risks that should be managed as part of mining investment.

Mr. Rodriguez, a 2008 LLM graduate who practices at Marval O'Farrell & Mairal, began by noting the significant growth Argentina has experienced in recent years in the mining sector. He pointed out that Wang Xuelong, General Director at the China Geological Survey, has said, "We believe Argentina is the most appropriate destination for mining investments due to its huge geological potential." Mr. Rodriquez also noted that while Chile and Peru have been extensively explored for natural resources potential, less than half of Argentina has been similarly explored. As a result, in 2009 about $1.9 billion (US) was invested in the Argentina mining industry, a more than 1,000 percent growth rate since 2003. He also pointed to the rapid rise in minerals-related exports during the last decade. Mr. Rodriguez finished his presentation by describing a "favorable legal framework," which has resulted in large foreign investments in Argentina.

Mr. Parravicini, a 2009 LLM graduate who now practices law at Estudio Beccar Varela, spoke about the relative risks of investing in mining in Argentina. He began by noting that some provinces have banned the use of cyanide for mining. He also discussed the taxation on companies with fiscal stability benefits and zoning regulations that need to be taken into account of before investing. He emphasized that some risks need to be evaluated and managed by potential investors.

Looked at as a whole, the joint presentation provided students an excellent view of how these two Latin American lawyers analyze potential mining projects on behalf of their clients.

Don C. Smith, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy (ENRL) program, said, "What made the session so valuable was for students to hear what it is like to operate 'on the ground,' to speak, in a Latin American country that has attracted considerable outside investment interest. Few U.S. law schools can boast that they have graduates who are working on a daily basis in Latin America on resources issues that must be undertaken in a considered and careful way by investors."

Lucy Daberkow, Assistant Director for the ENRL Graduate Program said, "DU is very fortunate to have among our graduates Leo and Diego, who are establishing themselves as mining law experts in Argentina and Latin America more broadly. Our current students benefited from hearing Leo and Diego talk about the realities of investing in Argentina, both in terms of the upside and in terms of risks to be managed."

DU has a long history of attracting some of Latin America's best lawyers to the LLM program. These students enrich the overall diversity of the ENRL program as well as contribute to the global nature of how natural resources are taught at DU.

Mr. Rodriguez' presentation can be accessed by clicking here. Mr. Parrivicini's presentation can be accessed by clicking here.

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