Canadian, Aussie juniors lead mining exploration in Chile

A total of 123 junior mining companies are exploring for minerals in Chile, the world’s top copper producer, reveals the latest survey conducted by the country’s copper commission Cochilco.

The report shows that, together, these firms hold over 200 mining projects, which are at the exploration stage.

Canadian juniors lead the way, with 37% of the foreign firms present in the South American country. They are followed close by Australians, which make up 23% of the total. Local juniors account for 11% and Americans for 9% of the total operating in the nation.

Most of the projects, 87% of them, are located in the north, being the mineral-rich Atacama region the one with the largest number of mining endeavours.

Big miners, small wins

While the junior sector keeps attracting foreign investment, about $40 billion large-scale projects have been put on ice or postponed to date, according to a report released in January by Chile's National Mining Society (Sonami).

Despite the significant amount of delayed and blocked investments, the influential lobby group says its overall forecast for $100 billion investment in the Chilean mining industry for the next 10 to 12 years is still intact.