CASES

Launching a mining company in Argentina

The introduction of a company to a new country requires a large amount of preparatory groundwork: getting to know the political, economic and social situation of the place in question as well as becoming familiar with the applicable regulations and legislation. It also requires the establishment of a relationship with the key communities where the activity is to take place and in-depth knowledge of the idiosyncrasies of the new location.

When this process was well underway, an American mining company preparing to expand into the Province of Catamarca (Argentina) made contact with Agora Public Affairs. The objective was clear: to establish a positive image in Argentine public opinion, especially in Catamarca. This objective required the introduction of the company at an institutional level, in the media and, most importantly, to society.  

The strategy presented to this client was divided into a public affairs plan, the organization of audiences with political leaders at provincial and federal levels, a media plan, and the introduction of the company and its activities to the public with an emphasis on how beneficial it would be for the area, as well as a research plan to find out what citizens thought about the sector and the company, with recommendations for subsequent action.

The objective was clear: to establish a positive image in Argentine public opinion, especially in Catamarca. This objective required the introduction of the company at an institutional level, in the media and, most importantly, to society

After gaining in-depth knowledge about how the company worked as well as its vision and workforce, the team at Agora simultaneously implemented several activities during the first year of each of the plans.

The public affairs plan focused on arranging audiences with key leaders  in the provincial government as well as the head of the Argentine Chamber of Mining Businesses (CAME), preparing reports on the different authorities involved and monitoring legislation on key agreements for the mining industry with the Acuerdo Federal Minero (Federal Mining Agreement) being chief amongst these.

In addition, a media plan was set in motion whereby representatives of the company were introduced to journalists from the mining, economics and manufacturing sections, key discourse and communication materials (press releases, corporate profile, etc.) were identified and the media was monitored to detect the press’ level of interest in the industry and how often the company was named. In addition, several sessions were held to train spokespeople from the company, instructing them in the best way to communicate the company’s central messages to achieve a beneficial view of the company and the mining sector.

To find out the state of public opinion and the effectiveness of the actions carried out, Quiddity, a research company associated with Agora, carried out a quantitative study in the Province of Catamarca. This study determined that 38% of the population believed that mining was an important sector for the development of a province and 33% said that the best contribution by the sector to the community was the generation of employment.

After almost a year’s work, the company has been positioned as one of the best regarded mining companies in the country (40% of citizens stated this in public opinion surveys) and high executives at the company have held several meetings with the main political leaders related to the sector (production, economics) at national and provincial levels. These are signs that the arrival stage has been carried out to great success.

After almost a year’s work, the company has been positioned as one of the best regarded mining companies in the country

With the company now established in Argentina, work continues to maintain its standing at institutional, media and social levels.