BUENOS AIRES Jan 25 Brazilian miner Vale SA
must provide a new timeline for work on the roughly
$6 billion Rio Colorado potash project within five working days
or it risks losing the concession, Argentina's Mendoza province
said on Friday.
Vale, the world's second-largest mining company,
said on Thursday it extended vacation for workers at the
Mendoza-based site, which began on Dec. 22, and did not have a
date for work to resume.
In a statement on Friday, Mendoza's provincial government
said it ordered Vale to present a new timeline for the project
or the concession could be considered "abandoned."
A spokesman for Vale in Argentina was not immediately
available to comment.
The company said previously the project was not suspended
but it had extended vacation time while it "analyzes variations
in the project's economic fundamentals."
In early December, Vale cut estimated 2013 capital spending
by 24 percent after a global slowdown and a drop in iron ore
prices led the company to rethink expansion. Two months before,
it said it planned to sell underperforming assets to control
costs and boost profit.