The last months have seen more optimism for global mining, not only because of the recovery of copper price, but also, and in a medium term, for the protagonist of this metal in which has been called the new economy, low-carbon or “green” economy. In this, protagonists, together with copper, are lithium, nickel and cobalt. And, of course, the sun.

This promising future, whose economy will contribute to reverting global climate change, will request the mining industry to leave behind the way it has been producing and innovating on how it will participate in this future by rethinking the way to obtain and process minerals, reducing its solid and liquid waste, water use and its impacts in general.

Chile can lead the disruptive changes demanded by the industry not only for being the main copper producer in the world, and hence, a lab for testing new technologies, business models at a lower cost, complexity and simplicity. Also, in terms of human capital, management and business practices, in work relationships, community and citizenship in general. At the same time, the country is performing a global leadership role with regards to solar energy.

How do we recover investment and promote exploration? What will happen to Chile in the next two decades? Are we developing a long-term strategy as a country, giving preference to our copper and lithium reserves, as we have been doing with solar energy, all being essential components for the development of a future that is cleaner, more sustainable and electric?

In the governmental programs from presidential candidates there is a certain consensus on priorities. The challenge is to reach a major agreement on focuses and unite wills beyond the electoral ups and downs and the political will of the current government. This is what these times demand for accelerated changes.

We must bring the future to the mining present. We can’t leave this new technology revolution to be in front of my eyes without making the most of our competitive advantages. Maturity and experience of our mining industry is an entry point for the oft-mentioned economy of knowledge, which doesn’t conflict with the exploration of mining resources, but only requires diversification and sophistication.

Alejandra Wood
Executive Director