Minister of Mining, Aurora Williams:
“EXPOMIN is an established arena for the industry to learn of new offers in mining solutions”
The Secretary of State emphasizes that the industry is in constant motion, designing, executing and applying new technologies, hence the main mining tradeshow in Latin America is the place to enable the promotion on those innovations aimed at contributing to mining development for “4.0 mining “that the country demands.
The Mining minister, Aurora Williams Baussa, has always been an active EXPOMIN collaborator currently holding the rank of Honorary President and as such highlights and values the role of the main mining tradeshow in Latin America.
To this respect, the Secretary of State made the point that this international exhibition has become the platform to exchange ideas and strengthen ties between the different industry stakeholders to deal with the industry challenges.
Minister Williams spoke with EXPOMIN press on the expectations of the upcoming 2018 tradeshow, pointing out that the technological breakthroughs shown in this new version will contribute to the “Mining 4.0” development that is expected of the country.
- In your role as Mining Minister and Honorary President of EXPOMIN, in its 2014 and 2016 versions, what has been its role in the development of the industry?
A: We have always valued those instances that are meant for the transfer of knowledge and experiences, in any industry. The distinctiveness of the mining tradeshows are the evolutionary leaps that they showcase.
This is an industry that constantly innovates, designs, executes and incorporates the use new technologies. The mining sector faces complexities of operating in extreme conditions, adapting to environmental changes and having to face shortages of critical utilities such as water and energy, that require cost reductions to better price cycles. That is why it demands and will continue to demand products and services that facilitate the efficiency of its operations. EXPOMIN is a platform for the sector to know in a comfortable and timely manner the new offers in mining solutions.
EXPOMIN, one of the largest tradeshows in the world, is a showcase that brings together the main players of the local and international industry and a meeting place for the realization of business. We hope that the technological advances that it exhibits contribute once again to the development of the 4.0 Mining that we want for the country.
- As one of the main activities to be highlighted as part this exhibition is the IV Gathering of Technical-Professional Students and Teachers for Mining as an event where you have had an outstanding participation. Have the results of these events influenced the development of these meetings in the development of policies that you, have you implemented to attract young people to mining?
A: Developing events, such as those you mention, have had positive effects in different areas. These activities have helped to make the importance of technical training more visible; they have contributed to the development of new analyzes and visions, and to share and convene on different positions; they have motivated the creation of training projects more focused on the needs of the industry, and have expanded the participation spaces of the students themselves.
Therefore, this type of meetings has contributed to the development of programs for the Ministry of Mining and Education, of training institutions, and to the assessment made by the companies themselves.
According to Sonami studies, national mining will require 18,000 new job placements in the next decade. Most corresponds to tasks that can be performed by a professional technician, which means that the demand will be mainly directed at maintenance, electricians, mechanics and equipment operators.
Therefore, there is a wide area for those who prefer to follow technical-professional training, inclined to take on technological challenges and propose new solutions to an industry that wants and needs to improve its production capacity standards.
It is important to remember the incorporation, as of this year, the Technical Training Centers into a gratuity system, increasing the possibilities of many young people to have access to knowledge and higher education.
Also highlighting the announcement made under this administration regarding the creation of 15 State Technical Training Centers, one in each region of the country. The first five, to provide classes will teach from the first quarter of 2018, will be located in the regions of Tarapacá, Coquimbo, Maule, La Araucanía and Los Lagos.
On this path towards specialization, which not only knowledgeably enriches those who study, but also contributes to a more efficient industry and a more developed country, we have done this, in parallel events such as the one you mention.
- In your various interventions you have made permanent reference to the role of the academia as one of the leading role of the sector, what has been the contribution of the academic world and how do you visualize your participation in the next few years in the development of the mining industry?
A: The contribution of the academic world is very significant in the field of research and in the training of future professionals, with the knowledge and skills set required by the industry today.
On this last point, I see a growing concern of universities and technical training centers to have relevant study plans, and operate with methodologies that allow to train professionals with the ability to develop innovative solutions.
This perception makes me project to the academy contributing with greater technological development; knowledge; and creation of bold solutions that will allow the industry to face its challenges with more tools.
- The EXPOMIN 2018 Congress “INNOVATION FOR MINING DEVELOPMENT” will cover in different seminars the issues that the industry demands today in terms of technologies. What are the main approaches that the sector must take to be modern, sustainable and highly automated?
A: The Mining Policy with which we have worked has encouraged the creation of value within the extractive industry, with innovation as the main driver for each action. This way, we believe to move towards a more efficient industry and a more diversified market.
The drivers are based on “the new way to do mining”, with a management based on multi-stakeholder discussion – our seal – and which has worked on the basis of consensus to raise added value, operational excellence, sustainability and inclusion.
Mining and its associations included and added to this strategy, through which we have taken fundamental steps in the execution of programs together with cases such as the World Class Supplier programs; National Alta Ley Mining Program; Expande; and the Antofagasta Cluster, as well as others.
However, we are absolutely clear that these are highly dynamic processes, and that innovation is and must be permanent.
The industry, concerned on being more efficient, has been closer to testing and the use of smart technologies. The establishment of processes that facilitate the development of intelligent mining is key, based on the concept of interoperability or ability to exchange data and promote joint work with other industry stakeholders.
Building and operating large underground mining projects, for example, is a major challenge for the national mining industry, both because of its complexity and because of the associated production volumes.
The incorporation of knowledge, innovation and technological development have become significant sources for competitive advantage.
The establishment of a supplier sector constitutes an important enabler for the future development of Chilean mining and a unique opportunity for technological development, diversification and productive sophistication. If we are leaders in extraction we can also be leaders in industrial solutions.