(Photo: New York Times)
Argentinean Federal Planning minister, Julio de Vido, revealed yesterday in New York the interest of the group lead by Hungarian financier and philanthropist George Soros in developing bio-fuel in Santa Fe province, Argentina. The investment would be "between 250 and 300 million dollars", he informed after meeting with Soros' son -Jonathan Soros-, and it would be oriented to produce bio-fuel from corn and sugar cane. The plant would be settled in Santa Fe province, one of the closest to Buenos Aires and one of the main centers for farming activities in the country. More specifically, it would be set at Venado Tuerto city. The project would employ "1,300 people directly and among 8 and 10 thousand people indirectly", the minister considered, and anticipated a production of 200 million liters of bio-fuel. The Soros group was already involved in real estate investments in the country and then got to manage over 170 thousand hectares of country land in several Argentinean provinces. It has now strong investments in cattle, soy, corn, wheat, sunflower, and milk production. Though their bio-fuel interest has a background with the buying of an ethanol plant in Minas Gerais -Brazil-, they surely saw an opportunity in Argentina after the recent fuzz about the bio-fuel law declared by the government -approved in 2004 and re-approved in April with a different text-. This law...... sets tax deduction incentives for the production of bio-fuel, and makes mandatory for all liquid fuels from petrol to contain 5% of ethanol or bio-fuel. Though it might seem a positive initiative, the duplicate approval left a sour feel to it.
On the other hand, it's no surprise the project takes place in Santa Fe province, since it's home to several bio-energy initiatives. Major oil companies have projects for soy conversion into bio-fuel, and petrol companies such as Repsol have plans for millionaire investments.
Through La Capital newspaper.