In order to analyze the challenges that the mining industry is facing in the area of sustainability, in light of the new socio-environmental scenarios in Chile and internationally, Fundación Chile held on Wednesday, November 27, a meeting denominated “Dialogue on socio-environmental challenges faced by the mining sector in the country“.
The initiative is part of the Mining Footprint Project from Innova CORFO denominated “Assessing the Footprint of a mining company” and has the cooperation of Finish VTT Research Centre. This effort is in addition to similar initiatives carried out by Fundación Chile, like the study of existing gaps in human capital for this sector and work performed to promote world-class suppliers for mining.
“The world has changed and the social-environmental challenges of mining are no longer just a Chilean challenge but a global one. This implies changes in the paradigm of how people perceive and act. It is a tremendous challenge and we believe this kind of such initiatives we can build ways to address it“, said Juan Ramón Candia, manager of Water and Environment department at Fundación Chile.
Milena Grünwald, Innovum’s projects director at Fundación Chile, noted “mining within the Chilean economy is very important. When you look at it with a broader perspective, you can see that the high prices continue to exist, but have lost competitiveness for various factors. The solution is to generate new knowledge and innovation“.
Meanwhile, Helena Wessman – Jaaskelainen, senior scientist at VTT Finland, highlighted the SAM project, whose objective is to perform an analysis of the sustainability of mining and water and, in turn, improve the dialogue between the various parties involved. Similarly, the expert noted “learning and the creation of efficient tools are essential in the mining industry, good relations with the local communities and the support of communications with the stakeholders involved“.
The meeting brought together opinion leaders representing the mining industry and government agencies, as DGA, CNR, SERNAGEOMIN, Ministry of Mines and the National Commission for Clean Production, in addition to specialists that are committed to research, working with communities and regulatory scope.
Different actors shared their concerns, perspectives and experiences that allow generating strategic lines of action, which will translate into a document for future discussion and promotion.
Flavio Angelini, manager of the Sustainability and External Affairs at Codelco El Teniente Division, stated “the environmental challenge and the relationship with the social environment and the communities are vital and enabling for the business, they are not marginal issues. It is a central part of the core of the mining sector. This kind of initiatives raise awareness and assess what actions to adopt in the Chilean mining industry to be environmentally friendly and in favor of participating in change and improve the environment“.
Meanwhile, Rodolfo Camacho, Environment manager at BHP Billiton, said “with this kind of initiatives our expectation is to initiate a dialogue that is hopefully permanent and convenes actors from everywhere“.
Anglo-American’s manager of Water Resources, Marcela Angulo said “socio-environmental challenges are not only mining challenges but of all the productive sectors. It’s a big issue, groups and communities increasingly demand more. These types of multi-sector dialogues are very valuable to focus our efforts on improving socio-environmental issues”.
According to what the experts explained, the medium-term goal is to create a permanent platform for discussion on these issues. At the same time, in the short-term, the challenges identified will be included in the Website http:/ desarrolloproveedores.cl/, which is oriented to precisely contact the industry with its suppliers around the most complex challenges to be addressed.