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InvestChile participates in Investment Forum on the challenges of the mining, energy and manufacturing industries

The mining industry is facing the challenges inherent in its rapid move towards a new phase of its development. Industry 4.0, automation of processes and the incorporation of advanced technology all call for work and investment in innovation, development and human capital. This was the focus of the recent Forum of the Program of Promotion of Investment and Technological Development of Suppliers in the Antofagasta Region, organized by the Antofagasta Region Productive Development Committee together with the government’s Economic Development Agency (CORFO) and the Regional Government, in line with the decentralization policy of the administration of President Michelle Bachelet and the Roadmap of the Antofagasta Region Mining Cluster Program.

Speakers at the event included Regional Governor Arturo Molina, Marlene Sánchez in representation of the Antofagasta Region Productive Development Committee, the Regional Representative (SEREMI) of the Mining Ministry, Cristián Montesinos, and the Director of InvestChile, Carlos Álvarez, as well as representatives of business associations and companies and suppliers from the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors.



Carlos Álvarez explained that Chile is seeking to “encourage mining suppliers to develop their companies or businesses, expanding both locally and internationally. For this, CORFO is implementing a set of measures of promotion and support in which InvestChile can collaborate by facilitating agreements and alliances between local suppliers and international companies in similar or complementary sectors as a means of diversifying their products and services at the local level and facilitating market access through representatives or partners overseas.”

The aim is to promote Chile’s expertise in mining and related industries as a way of attracting international companies which, from Chile, can export products and services to the rest of the region, particularly at a time when a number of other Latin American countries are seeking to boost their mining industries and their expansion and specialization, said Álvarez.

The Governor of the Antofagasta Region, Arturo Molina, invited mining suppliers to participate in addressing the industry’s new challenges through the development of innovative technologies. “The Mining Cluster is an invitation to be creative, innovative and entrepreneurial and to prepare ourselves in energy, mining and infrastructure, the three factors that are going to most influence the Region’s development and industrial growth,” he said.

Marlene Sánchez, Executive Director of the Antofagasta Region Productive Development Committee, called on companies to lead the process of transformation “so that our suppliers make the important leap from carrying out repairs to producing high-turnover components, taking advantage of the fact that we already know which are the areas in which the principal groups are seeking to advance.”


Industry challenges

In the transformation of the open-pit Chuquicamata mine, Codelco is currently facing one of its greatest challenges. Jorge Sougarret, Underground Mining Manager at Codelco’s Chuquicamata Division, pointed out that it is necessary to start work on “developing the solutions that underground mining will demand, from the most basic to the most sophisticated – large-scale infrastructure and construction through to automation, maintenance and operational support services. There are many services which the Division does not currently have and which we will have to develop and adapt to these new requirements.”

The Forum also included three simultaneous workshops which discussed the challenges of the mining, energy and manufacturing industries. The latter was moderated by Jorge Yutronic, President of the National Advanced Manufacturing Program, who emphasized that, “Chilean industry must incorporate more technology into its processes and modify its business models in order to be competitive internationally (…) Antofagasta as the capital of the mining industry provides the opportunity for a manufacturer to develop its applications and products, test them in a very demanding industry and validate them for export to the rest of the world.”

Speakers at the workshop on mining included Cristián Mancilla, Manager of Phibrand Consultores, and Enrique Molina, Director of Innovation in Mining at Fundación Chile. The workshop on energy focused on technological challenges in solar generation and the operation and maintenance of plants, with speakers who included Angela Oblasser, Director of Fundación Chile’s Open Platform for Innovation in Energy, and Ana María Ruz, the Solar Committee’s Director of Technological Development.