Written by Ian Cardenas, Paralegal
Chile’s mining industry is in a transition period as it moves towards sustainable development, along with being competitive and safe, technologically focused, equitable, environmentally and socially responsible.
What is green mining?
This new way of mining implies efficiency in the use of extracted resources, proper management of processes, and production with less impact on the environment and surrounding communities. Essentially, green mining can be expected to improve and optimise practices within the industry in order to have more efficient and environmentally friendly processes in all respects.
Green Mining is defined as “mining technologies, best practices and processes that are implemented as a means to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the extraction and processing of metals and minerals” (Mining Technology, 2014).
Beyond just the final product or result, the entire manufacturing process is considered relevant. It is now essential to evaluate the wider impact of mining. This includes the environmental impact, community and social impact, safety measures for workers, and the energy efficiency. Green Mining ensures a quality product, where human, environmental and political conditions influence each of its stages.
One more point to add in the production chain is the reuse of waste and the maximum use of each of the resources extracted. This can give a second life to waste byproducts and promotes a Circular Economy. There must be protocols for mineral recovery and process improvement. Constant monitoring helps Chile to be one of the leaders in sustainable production due to its efficiency, competitiveness and safety.
Green mining in Chile
As an industry, we have the challenge to increase our production and at the same time to do it in a sustainable way. In our Mining Group we have a Climate Change Strategy and electromobility is part of it. We believe that green mining is possible and we have the responsibility to provide the world with the copper it needs to build a better future.” — Alejandra Vial, Environment Manager at Antofagasta Minerals.
Green mining represents an opportunity for Chile to be the key supplier of responsible mining and green copper to the world. Beyond Chile just exporting copper, it can also export the development processes behind this – that is, the science, technology and human capital that it creates.
New technologies and innovations are increasingly required to support this way of mining, and so new companies are becoming part of this model, giving everyone the opportunity to participate and together we can build the mining of the future in a sustainable way, committed to the environment and society.