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An Overview of Natural Resources Development in Latin America

David K. Fagin, International Oil, Gas, and Mining Development in Latin America (1994)

The purpose of this overview is to identify certain key issues which you should understand before working in the area. Other speakers will present specific ways that you can successfully pursue the opportunities and overcome the challenges of the region. In my talk, I will discuss the importance of Latin American resources, briefly review the geography and the geology, touch on the political and cultural history, the resource development history, describe some new developments which have brought a renewed focus of industry to the region, and describe the obstacles and opportunities which must be overcome to ensure our success as foreign investors.

The factors which have shaped the development of natural resources within these regions go well beyond basic geological requirements for the existence of the resources. No one doubts that the region is richly endowed with commercially attractive resources. The factors go beyond geography, climate, the physical difficulty of working in remote and hostile jungle or mountain environments of the region or the technological challenges of designing and constructing the means of extraction and delivery of products to markets. The region's development has certainly been shaped by these factors, but also by history, culture, language, politics, and the gyration of prices in the resource product markets which reflect supply and deman