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Government seeks to fast-track mining projects worth over US$17,000 million

InvestChile - September,16,2020

The Mining Ministry has begun trial implementation of a plan to assist almost 20 initiatives from their early stages through to their start of operation.

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The government sees the mining industry as one of the key drivers of the country’s economic reactivation. The sector has an important portfolio of projects that envisage an outlay of some US$17,000 million through to 2023. Eighteen initiatives (with approved environmental impact studies) are already underway or have a high probability of starting construction. In response, the Mining Ministry has designed and started trial implementation of the “More and Better Mining” plan to facilitate the projects’ implementation as a means of economic reactivation.

“We are working on different initiatives with a focus on providing early assistance for investment projects, detecting in advance the effects they may experience and working together to mitigate or eliminate them. In this way, we will have better prepared projects and speed up their processing,” says Mining Minister Baldo Prokurica.

According to the minister, the plan involves implementing a model of assistance and technical advice for mining projects at all stages; for example, through the participatory relationship with communities, before the initiative is submitted to the Environmental Impact Evaluation System (SEIA); through the promotion of committees and technical meetings for coordination purposes, once work on its environmental study has begun; and, by fast-tracking sector permits, once the project has obtained environmental approval.

The importance of this portfolio of projects lies in the more than 32,000 jobs they will create during their construction and operating phases. Moreover, out of the projects, eight are already at the construction stage and will soon be followed by a further ten. The Tarapacá Region accounts for projects worth US$5,041 million, followed by the Antofagasta Region with US$4,911 million and the Atacama Region with US$4,286 million. The government notes that, given the industry’s multiplier effect, these investments will give a strong boost to supply chains, contributing to the recovery of employment and generating fiscal revenues, helped by a strong copper price, which is currently running at over US$3.

Industry perspective

Industry associations underscore the role that mining will play in economic recovery and in meeting the state’s need to comply with an ever increasing number of financial commitments. However, the National Mining Society (SONAMI) notes that, for this to occur, it is necessary to boost investment through a series of measures.

“We must continue to make progress in clarifying regulatory uncertainties, providing greater legal certainty and simplifying and speeding up the award of permits,” says the president of SONAMI, Diego Hernández. Similarly, the executive president of the Mining Council, Joaquín Villarino, indicates that the sector’s contribution will come precisely from investment because it will be very difficult for it to maintain its rhythm of production merely through mines’ operational continuity.

“For this, the important thing is to have a sensible institutional and regulatory framework in which changes are predictable and have solid grounds. We also think the permitting system needs modernizing so that permits can be obtained within the timeframe stipulated by regulation and any rejections are based on well-established technical criteria,” adds Villarino.

Source: El Mercurio

To find out about other investment opportunities in the Chilean mining sector, see this article.

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Topics: Foreign Investment- InvestChile- Mining Industry- Foreign companies- Mining Ministry

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