Chilean mining powerhouse looks to new options to emerge from global mining slump

One of the world’s mining powerhouses – Chile – says the country has now adopted a proactive stance to reduce foreign investment barriers in its mining sector as it joins a plethora of mining jurisdictions worldwide battling to mitigate the resources downturn.

Addressing the first day of the two day Paydirt 2016 Latin America Downunder conference in Perth today, Chile’s Vice Minister of Mining, HE Ignacio Moreno, said Chile had not escaped the pain of the downturn but was working through options to improve performance.

“Mining exploration, as well as national and the global mining industry, is at a depressed stage,” Mr Moreno said.

“In this negative context, Chile’s national mineral exploration budget dipped 13.1% in 2015 but this was lower than the country’s overall budget decline of 18.3%,” he said.

“This budget outperformance can be seen as a sign of confidence in the ongoing mining potential in Chile – the worlds’ leading copper producer.

“On a global comparison, it also allowed Chile to move into fourth place worldwide in terms of exploration investment.

“Importantly for the longer term, while we have seen miners and explorers in Chile reduce their exploration budgets in response to the complex market periods, the upside is they have used that window of opportunity to concentrate their focus on improving the geological information surrounding their mining projects.”

Mr Moreno said the Government regarded midsize and junior minerals exploration in Chile as fundamental to the country’s continued re-emergence from the resources slump and had adopted a raft of changes to crystallise the sector’s recovery.

These included a National Geological Plan which provide for government to obtain contributing information from private explorers and miners, and to enhance basic and thematic mapping of the country’s rocks, chemical concentrations and geothermal and underground resources at different scales.

“It is essential for a well endowed minerals province like Chile to attract investment through being able to offer  much higher quality geoscience information, particularly on the formation and exploration potential of its mineral deposits,” Mr Moreno said.

“We are focused on derisking resources investment in Chile and this has seen gains in the number of companies now dual listing in Chile and on the mining renowned Toronto Stock Exchange,” he said.

“It is our long-term policy to better leverage the importance of exploration in Chile with new public-private alliances.”