JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – As various headwinds continue to challenge mining industries worldwide, a Chilean delegation visiting South Africa on Monday spoke of stable legal frameworks and solid institutions as being critical factors in the success of its mining sector.
As part of a Chilean delegation visiting three African countries this week, Chile Ministry of Mining specialised technical agency Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco) executive VP Sergio Hernandez told delegates at a seminar, in Johannesburg, that the South American country’s policies and legal frameworks had brought stability to the sector.
Chile has, over the last few years, been promoting the development of the mining sector and has implemented targeted policies to overcome the challenges it faced, enabling it to revive the sector that has been around for generations, with optimism of increased copper demand in the next few decades.
The world’s biggest copper producer has experienced seven-fold growth in mine production since the 1960s, with a diversification of its economy bringing the contribution of mining exports down from 87% of total exports in 1960 to 51% currently.
Its institutions, which included Cochilco, Chilean national mining corporation Empresa Nacional de Minería, or Enami, and national copper corporation of Chile (Codelco) remain strong and, with policy certainty in place, a high per capita gross domestic product and a strong economy, Chile is open for investment, both local and foreign.
In particular, Chile has brought its socioeconomic and environmental policies up to scratch, with significant improvements in the latter’s legal framework since 2011.
However, complementing its integrated mining model of small and medium-scale miners, large private miners and State-owned firms, the country needs to “complete its industry” with support in investment, technology, experience and best practice from other mining-dominated countries.
The country has trade agreements with 64 countries, in addition to 25 international cooperation agreements.
In July, South Africa and Chile signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in the mining and minerals field, particularly with regard to mineral processing and beneficiation; mineral development, technology and skills transfer, including small-scale mining, which was a significant focus for Chile; and to share experiences in policy formulation and the regulatory framework, besides others.
Hernandez, accompanied by Enami development and innovation manager Jose Andrés Herrera, will visit Botswana and Zambia later this week.