BUENOS AIRES Jan 25 Brazilian miner Vale SA
could lose its concession on the roughly $6 billion
Rio Colorado potash project if it does not comply with an order
to provide a new timeline within five working days, Argentina's
Mendoza province said on Friday.
On Thursday, Vale, the world's second-largest
mining company, said 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."
Mendoza said it was taking this action to safeguard jobs on
the project and protect the province's mineral resources.
Vale declined to comment, a press office spokeswoman in
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.