Chile strives to embrace new, cleaner mining technologies

World famous mining forum will take place in Santiago this year welcoming international experts to promote more sustainable practices in the industry.

Chile’s mining industry is the backbone of the country’s economy. Photo via Municipalidad de Antofagasta.
Chile’s mining industry is the backbone of the country’s economy. Photo via Municipalidad de Antofagasta.

Slumbering silently beneath Chile’s Andean Mountain range is the the lifeblood of the country’s economy — copper. Exports of the element account for one third of the Chilean government’s income and provides thousands of jobs throughout the land. As a result the sector is always striving to improve and adopt new technologies that will enhance operations and sustainability.

Santiago will host the 5th annual Global Mining Technology Forum in October — an event aimed at accelerating the country’s productivity and business-value in the sector.

Once again mining is set to take center stage as experts and industry leaders discuss new technologies available in a bid to heighten productivity. The industry was responsible for 14.2 percent of the country’s GDP in 2012 and is present in 13 of the 15 regions of the country, extracting 25 different products. It is the main economic activity in the regions of Tarapacá, Antofagasta and Atacama and is of great importance in the Coquimbo, Valparaiso and O’Higgins regions.

The forum will take place over three days from October 6-8 and will be a definitive meeting point for the international mining community, who is set to discuss how to best adopt the latest technologies.

Mining companies are showing low levels of productivity and high costs of production due to increasing processing costs from factors such as labor, energy and lower ore grades,” Aditya Chopra,Fleming Gulf’s Production Manager, said to Mercopress.

“The industry is eager to discover solutions that will improve productivity, that can bring back production costs to competitive levels compared with other leading mining countries. Chile is currently making huge investments in clean and more efficient mining technologies,” Chopra confirmed.

Experts from the world over will gather to present and discuss technology innovations that have the potential to make mining techniques cleaner, more energy-efficient, safer and sustainable. A series of talks, forums and exclusive sessions will revolve around fields such as IT, communication technologies, robotics, space and deep-sea mining, and deep low grade ore mining.

Some of the industry’s most acclaimed figures, such as President of the Griffin Coal Mining Company, Raj Kumar Roy; and Douglas Morrison, President and CEO of Holistic Mining Practices, will be heading case studies and workshops detailing emerging technologies.

The third and final day of the forum will be dedicated to talks on developing such practices as seismic monitoring and microseismic data acquisition systems.

During four previous events the Global Mining Technology Forum has witnessed over 97 industry speakers, more than 700 attendees from 47 countries and over 50 different sponsors. This year the event will be sponsored by IOM3, Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.

Investment in Chile’s mining sector is projected to be between US$67 and US$91.5 million during the next six years and the country is even opening up a number of mines to tourists, in what will be called the ‘Mining Tourism Route.’ Due to open in 2015, the route offers visitors the chance to experience the history, culture and everyday operations of the country’s most important industry.