In the name of Sebastián Piñeras’s government, I want to send greetings and appreciation to you on the XVI World Exhibition and Congress for Latin American Mining EXPOMIN 2018. The event has become a space to share knowledge, experiences as well as technological offers which develop innovation and productivity in the mining process.
On this opportunity, I want to send greetings to the international delegations and visitors, especially to those American mining associations with us. Also, to Peru as our guest country.
For many of you this is just another chance of the one that annually gather the main representative companies, provides and entities of the mining industry and related to this productive sector. However, this renowned event is different from the last one. We are now witnessing the powerful and concrete reactivation and the recovery of the mining process.
A clear indicator of this is seen on EXPOMIN with the presence of 36 countries and 1,300 companies, which 63% are foreign companies. This shows the significance of the event, center of attention for the mining worldwide.
We want to say to you that for Sebastián Piñera’s government, EXPOMIN is the place to show the world that we are a mining country. We stand out for being the main producer of copper worldwide with 36% of the deposits, also of natural nitrates, iodine, rhenium, and the 2th in lithium. All this make us a real international mining power and one of the favorite destinies for investors and explorations.
But Chile not only has all of the above mentioned, but also has a stable constitution, a strong mining code, stricter norms and rules which ensure stability. Also, Chile has competitive mining workers and professionals, a mature and strong democracy that guarantees profits.
During these weeks as Mining Minister, many of you have told me their worries and doubts about the mining activity, and how the exploration and investments decreased due to the fall in the copper price and the bureaucracy in past processing projects. In this aspect, I will emphasize in what I say since I started on this position: we want mining to be the engine of growth for our economy and we will develop strong codes in order to attract more and better investors.
But this is not just words. Our real commitment is with all of you. Our government is not afraid of saying that we are interested in more mining investments, so we will reduce the number of complex procedures for mining sector. We already received critics from OCDE for bureaucratic issues, which affected our growth and development last years.
This is why, before assuming this work, with the Minister of Economy started the coordination for the Big Investment Projects Office. As part of the Minister, with the sub-secretary Pablo Terraza called the public and private sectors to impulse our Sustainable Development Unity, which aims to reactivate small, medium and big scale mining project. On this context, is remarkable to say that today we have 41 mining projects been processed by the Environmental evaluation system (SEIA). The investments reach US$53 billion; 24 environmentally approved in US$ 29,691 billion.
These regulations come from the President Sebastian Piñera’s framework which not only wants great projects in mining, but also in small and middle scale, because those improve the progresses and work in the communities of mining sites.
We are interested in innovation
We feel optimistic about the sector because it’s reactivating. During these weeks, I have observed that the metal demand not only give better perspective for commodities as cooper, but also impulse us to deal with big challenges about how we are going to take advantage of our natural resources.
On this line, I am committed and I share the vision that many of you have. We have to make things different, and make normal the use of current technological resources as drones, robotization, automation, or big data.
Facing this, I am convinced that mining, as main productive sector in Chile, is the right platform to introduce technological breaks to make us deal with challenges. For example, the low-grade minerals, the deposits – where we can see from open pit mine to underground operations – or the need to give essential supplies to the sector, as water or energy.
Todays, as many of you, I think that innovation must come with value and that digital revolution is here to stay. Therefore, we must assume that we have to live with it.
I want to remark the important work made by the High-Grade Mining Program – the one we want to transform into an institution – to make strong this public-private initiative for research, development and innovation.
We are also focused into increase the mining royalty of regional government for innovation activities, as well as the Regional Funds for Investment and Restructuring.
On the other hand, after checking the efforts made until now regarding mining innovation, although we still have pending tasks, I can recall the first results of the challenges proposed by the Road Map 2015-2035, as the Open Innovation Platform for Mining “Expande”, or the piloting and test spaces awarding for evaluating technologies for mining.
These initiatives are entrance doors for our mining growth that make us interested to develop and motivate.
I will also like to add the mining provider exportation programs and “Tranque”. The last oriented to the monitoring of tailing heaps for it physical and chemical stability, and create initiatives in recover and process of tailing heaps. We will follow its developments and also give conditions for new project. Seeing that our direction is positioning the mining industry as engine for our economic growth and employment.
If we want to achieve this action, we need to have the ability of working together; the public and private sectors, the academy, the providers and the entrepreneurs. In order to add value to our mining activities and our country.
On the other hand, we need to give easy access to new technologies in order to advance in venture capital market with innovative investments. In this context, we emphasize the work of Enami and Universidad de Chile for the development of packed bed technologies to give continuity to the refining copper process. Also, to the modular plants used by the small mining industry or the tailing use to add value in conjunction with the monitoring and remote operations processes.
At EXPOMIN 2018 I want to mention the importance we find in human capital and the acquisition of new competences to face the new advances in industrial processes. For example, the insertion of workers who know how to work in an open pit mine, who will work next on an underground mine or processing and using many data generated nowadays from this activity.
This is how our mining program looks to promote the integral homologation on requirements for contracting companies or providers about how to work on sites. This companies are also a great part of the mining process.
All of the above in line with our challenge of develop a sustainable and environmental, social inclusive mining industry. We need to keep progressing in transparency and in the relationship with our communities and advancing in associativity between companies and government. And also, where academic entities, like universities or investigation centers, can participate.
To reach our goals and objectives, we need the participation of everyone. This is what we are going to see this week in EXPOMIN: the presence and work of women and men from small and medium mining industries, operators, technicians, engineers, investors and business owners, working together to make possible beat the challenges imposed daily by mining.
I want to invite you all to be part of a scenario of better times for mining. We can see that now, on this exhibition. We not only want to share experiences and knowledge, but also be witnesses of how this sector is and will be one of the reactivators of the economy and impulse the growth and development for all us.
Thank you very much.