Visit in Chile – one of the world’s leading mining countries

May 23, 2023

The purpose was to build long-term relationships and to meet future, potential partners for GreenIron.

The following facts about the Chilean mining industry speak for themselves:

Chile is the top copper producer in the world with 29 percent of global copper production and the world’s second-largest producer of lithium with a 22 percent share of world production. The mining sector contributed $317 billion or 15 percent of Chile’s GDP in 2021 and mining exports accounts for approx. 62 percent of the country’s total exports. The mining industry is thus one of the pillars of Chilean economy.

Chile currently has the world’s largest global reserves of copper (23%) and of lithium (50%). The demand for copper is predicted to increase 250 percent by 2050, due to the electrification of the world. And the corresponding increase for lithium is expected to be 500 percent by 2050, due to the electrification of the world’s car fleet. The outlook for strong economic growth in Chile is thus bright in the coming years, while it will require major investments in green technology within the Chilean mining industry.

Perhaps our most rewarding meeting during our stay was at Ministerio de Minería, the State Ministry, in charge of coordinating and organising the exploitation of mineral resources in Chilean territory. Here we had a fruitful meeting with Cristian Rojas Olivares – Head of the Department of Innovation and Mining Development – and Lucio Parada – Head of the International Relations Department at the Ministry.

We were informed, among other things, that the Mining Ministry’s “2050 National Mining Policy” contains a series of proposals to harmonise mining operations with environmental concerns. The policy aims to achieve sustainable mining in the country by positioning Chile at the forefront of resource management and the environment. Among its goals, the policy seeks to reduce CO2-equivalent emissions by at least 50% in large-scale mining operations by 2030.

The Chilean mining sector therefore makes large investments in new technologies to become more sustainable and support the country’s climate change goals. A concrete example of this is that several mining projects are fully aware of the major environmental challenges they face, and therefore invests in renewable energy to significantly reduce their carbon footprint. This is to be able to live up to one of the “2050 National Mining Policy” most important goals: to ensure that 90 percent of electrical energy contracts in the mining sector come from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.

However, what pleased us most is that the proposed policy highlights the importance of the Chilean mining industry becoming more circular. A telling example of the ministry’s belief in the importance of circular economy is the goal to eliminate critical tailings in the mining industry by 2030.

To be continued!