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Francis to Sip From Made-in-Argentina Chalice, Pan American Says

Pan American Silver Corp., the Canadian miner that wrote down $100 million on an Argentine project last quarter, will supply silver from the South American country to make Pope Francis’s chalice.

A 1.3-kilogram (2.9-pound) bar of 99.9 percent pure silver will be supplied for the chalice, Vancouver-based Pan American spokeswoman Kettina Cordero said in an e-mailed response to questions. The metal will come from Pan American’s Triton venture in the southern province of Santa Cruz, she said, confirming a March 23 report by Argentine news agency Telam.

Pan American, the world’s second largest primary silver producer, had a $100 million non-cash writedown at the Navidad deposit in Chubut province in the fourth quarter, reducing its book value to $500 million because of the “general deterioration and increased risks of doing business in Argentina,” Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Burns said Feb. 21. The company acquired Navidad in 2010 and has been waiting for the Chubut government to approve an open-pit mining law to develop it since then.

Argentine-born Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, was elected the first non-European pope on March 13. He has since dismissed certain papal traditions, such as the use of a motorcade and using a white cassock, in line with the image of humility he projected as a cardinal, which included riding the subway in Buenos Aires.

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