It is a well known fact that Chile is the number one producer of copper in the world, providing 28% of the global production. It is also the second largest producer of lithium in the world, making up 23% of the market share. In 2021 the mining sector contributed to 15% of the country’s GDP, and made up over half of total exports, demonstrating why it is a key sector in the Chilean economy. The annual average copper price in 2021 was the highest it has been since 2011, reaching $4.23 per pound.
72% of Chilean copper mines are owned by private mining companies, with the rest being state owned and operated by Codelco. Countries from all over the world operate mining extracting companies in Chile, demonstrating a favorable environment for organizations and investors.
In Chile the demand for electric vehicles is increasing, which makes lithium a key resource for many companies and international investors. Chile has over 50% of the world’s lithium reserves, meaning companies looking to invest in this area have large potential. The US is able to benefit from a reputation of high quality and service, meaning they provide around 25% of parts and equipment to this sector. There are also plenty of exporting opportunities for companies as the region offers low operational costs, improved productivity and better efficiency in terms of resources.
With technology advancing and developing to improve sustainability in the country, more and more mining projects are including renewable energy resources to reduce carbon footprints. By 2023, it is estimated that 63% of electricity will come from renewable energy sources. The country works sustainably to reduce water consumption with around 75% of water being recirculated. Efforts to improve efficiency and safety are also being incorporated into the industry with automation and remote processes.
Current leading sectors include off-road transportation parts and equipment, underground mining technology, air pollution technology, cranes and machine parts, carbon footprint reduction services and personal safety equipment.
The Mining Ministry and Chilean Copper Commission recently released a survey in which they have identified five new projects adding up to an investment of $74,047 million, which is an increase from the previous year. The survey also includes 49 projects which is 5 more than the last period. Of these just under 90% of the projects are related to copper, six are gold mining, two in iron, five in lithium and one in industrial materials. These new projects are also expected to increase jobs by over 30,000 by 2023. These investments suggest that Chilean mining continues to attract foreign investors, demonstrating a wealth of potential. The regions of Antofagasta and Atacama are expected to attract the most investment.
Chile offers companies and investors the opportunity to take part and attend mining trade shows which can be highly beneficial. EXPOMIN is the world’s largest mining trade show outside the US, it offers attendees the opportunity to share knowledge and experience, and promote the use of technologies, allowing for innovation and increased productivity in the industry. EXPONOR takes place every two years and is the second largest mining trade show in Chile. It aims to promote and inform participants about the latest advances in mining, providing information about future investments and share experiences with companies and exhibitors.