Mining Market Intel

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Chilean Mining: Links and industry contacts

Commercial Opportunities | U.S. Embassy in Chile
Welcome to U.S. Commercial Service Chile! U.S. Commercial Service Chile is your eyes and ears in the local marketplace. We promote the export of U.S. goods and services and protect U.S. business interests in this country. Our staff of Commercial Specialists provides trade counseling, market research, trade contacts, and access to trade promotion opportunities and trade advocacy.

U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave NW Washington, DC 20230
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Chile – Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin
Santiago de Chile, Chile P.O. Box Casilla 82, Santiago 34
(562) 2290-9700 (562) 2212-0515
The mission of the Chilean American Chamber of Commerce is to promote free trade and investment between Chile and the United States, to be the effective voice of its members, and to facilitate related services.

Chile-US Chamber of Commerce
The Chile-U.S. Chamber of Commerce is an association of companies, professionals and individuals, organized to promote and encourage trade between Chile and the United States, with emphasis on South Florida, in addition to the inter-cultural understanding between the two countries. To achieve this mission, the Chamber serves as a bridge of communication and information with respect to the opportunities that are made available to interested entities.

The government agency responsible for promoting Chile in the global market as a destination for foreign direct investment, serving as a bridge between the interests of overseas investors and the business opportunities the country offers.

Do you want to export to Chile? Start by using the U.S. Department of Commerce Country Commercial Guide. The guides provide insights into economic conditions, leading sectors, selling techniques, customs, regulations, standards, business travel, and more.
Contact: Mr. Marcelo Orellana,

Chile – Mining and Minerals Overview

Published: 11/27/2019

Chile is the number one producer of copper in the world. In 2018, the sector produced 5.8 million tons of copper. Its current world production market share is 30%. The mining sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP is approximately 10% (GDP 2018: ~USD $300 billion). The industry represents about 50% of the country’s total exports.

Chile’s mining project pipeline remains large but less certain than in previous years. Projects are under development at a more moderate pace relative to previous years, by both state owned and private sector companies. The underlying reasons for the change of pace is the socio-environmental opposition to large infrastructure projects and the prevalent uncertainty brought by the tax, labor and energy sector reforms introduced by the current administration. (buy xanax xr baikal pharmacy)

  2016 2017 2018 2019 estimated
Total Local Production 1,209 1,327 1,779 1,651
Total Exports 256 258 322 310
Total Imports 203 222 155  
Imports from USA 1,156 1,291 1,612 1,649
Total Market Size 264 307 36 349
Exchange Rates: 1 USD 680 649 641 676

In addition to copper, Chile is also a major world supplier of lithium, molybdenum, gold, and silver. Chile currently holds the largest proven reserves of lithium under exploitation. Current world market share is 57.5%. This combined with the demand coming from the electric vehicle industry will make this resource the focus of international investors and developers. Currently there are only two companies active in the industry: Soquimich S.A. (SQM) and Albemarle Chile Ltda. Chile is also a relevant supplier of non-metallic minerals such as iodine, sodium, and potassium nitrate.In 2018, the average price of copper was US$ 2.93/lb. Copper prices for 2019 are expected to fall within the range of US$2.57 – US$2.98/lb. Industry capital outlay projections in the sector for the period 2017-2024 are in the range of USD$25 – USD$30 billion.

Over recent years, the mining industry has been investing not only in mining development and expansions, but in developing their own sources of energy. Mining companies are looking for renewable sources of energy to reduce their carbon footprint. The mechanisms used for the latest solar and wind-powered plants have been via private tenders.

The U.S remains the single largest mining parts and equipment supplier, with a market share around 30%. Important export opportunities in this industry will continue for those companies offering technologies and products that bring substantial operational cost reductions, improved productivity and more efficient use of water and cleaner processes.

Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. of Phoenix, Arizona, and Albemarle Corporation of Charlotte, North Carolina are the two major U.S. mining companies present in the market.

Leading Sub-Sectors
The following is a list of mining parts, equipment, and technologies in demand:

  • Equipment that requires regular replacement
  • Crushers Grinders
  • Off-road trucks (240-440 tons)
  • Cabbed truck chassis (+ 50 tons)
  • Parts for rock cutters
  • 360-degree revolving excavators
  • Cranes and screening machines

Environmental system solutions

  • Water treatment
  • Water desalination
  • Air pollution abatement
  • Mine closure technology
  • Carbon footprint reduction
  • Dust control technology
  • Arsenic management in smelters
  • Underground mining technology services
  • Wear-resistant materials

Industry projections indicate that, between 2019 and 2024, investments by the private and public sector will be in the range of US$20 – US$25 billion, and U.S. exporters will remain an important supplier of quality products to Chilean importers.

Exporting to Chile – Market Overview

Published 05/29/2019

Chile continues to be a strong trading partner and export market for U.S. companies, largely due to its open market policies, zero tariffs, stable democratic government, solid business practices, and low corruption. While GDP growth for much of the last 30 years has averaged approximately 5% per year, the Chilean economy slowed in recent years, with average annual GDP growth hovering between 1.5-2.0% from 2014-2017. However, a sustained rebound in global copper prices and increased business confidence have buoyed the Chilean economy, which is forecast to grow by more than 3% in 2018.

As the United States – Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) concludes its fourteenth year, trade of products and services continues to be a resounding success. As of January 1, 2004, duties were reduced to zero on 90% of U.S. exports to Chile, and in January 2015, all remaining tariffs were phased out, such that all U.S.-origin products now enter Chile tariff free. U.S. exports reached $17.5 billion at their highest post-FTA year in 2013, representing a 545% increase in exports when compared to pre-FTA figures. While bilateral trade has decreased in recent years, bilateral trade is still 2-3 times 2004 levels.

Overall, the U.S. enjoys a $3.0 billion trade surplus with Chile, exporting $13.6 billion in goods to Chile, while imports to the U.S. from Chile totaled US$10.5 billion in 2017. In addition to the US$13.6 billion in goods, the U.S. exported US$4.3 billion in services to Chile in 2016 (most recent year with data available). Overall, the U.S. is Chile’s #2 trading partner after China, which overtook the U.S. at the #1 trading partner four years ago. Chinese-Chilean bilateral trade has increased significantly in recent years; however, the United States maintains a broader and more dynamic and diverse trading relationship with Chile.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), global foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to Chile in 2017 totaled just $6.7 billion – a sharp decline from $19.5 billion in 2015. Despite this slowed investment into Chile, the country maintains a total FDI stock more than its GDP, topping $275 billion in 2017. United States Government statistics report a total FDI stock from the U.S. in Chile of $29.4 billion in 2016 (last year of information available). However, Chilean sources list U.S. FDI stock at over $38 billion, making it the leading foreign direct investor in Chile.

Chile continues to have the highest credit rating in Latin America, despite being downgraded earlier this year from A+ to A by Fitch. Both macroeconomic stability and a relatively strong sovereign balance sheet have earned Chile this strong credit rating with a stable outlook.

Chile is stable, prosperous, and consistently ranks high on international indices relating to economic freedom, transparency, and competitiveness. The Chilean peso floats freely on international markets. Chile also performs well in terms of low inflation, advanced financial market development, low levels of corruption and openness to foreign trade. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, Chile maintained its ranking from the previous year as best in Latin America and 33rd in the world for competitiveness. Chile’s GDP per capita (PPP) topped $24,000 in 2017, reinforcing its incredible growth since 1990, when the figure was just $4,500.

Chile continues to pursue market-oriented strategies, expand global commercial ties, and actively participate in international issues and hemispheric free trade.  Chile is a member and is the current chair of the Pacific Alliance.  Chile is also an associate member of Mercosur, a full member of APEC, and an OECD member since 2010. Chile is a founding member and leader in the 11-country Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which was signed in Santiago in March 2018.

Chile has successfully negotiated Free Trade Agreements with 62 countries around the world. As such, competition is fierce, and Chile has given its 18 million citizens unprecedented access to the world’s products and services. This offers a unique opportunity for U.S. exporters interested in expanding their businesses in arguably the most open and stable market in Latin America.

In 2010, the United States and Chile concluded the negotiations of a bilateral tax treaty, which was ratified by the Chilean Congress in September 2015. The treaty has not yet been ratified by the U.S. Senate.  Chile’s 2014 Tax Reform increased the effective income tax rate on dividends or profits earned by taxpayer residents in other countries up to 44.45%. This change is only applied to residents from countries without a bilateral taxation treaty in force with Chile (such as the United States), while residents from the 32 countries with such a treaty will keep this tax burden at 35%.

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Excerpts from Invest Chile

Chile is a worldwide leader in mining. We have the experience to be your strategic partners in innovation projects by adding value to your company.

Location: When it comes to metals, Chile has got it: 22% of the world’s copper reserves, 11% of the molybdenum reserves, 5% of the silver reserves, 7% of gold and 48% of the world’s lithium reserves.

Experience: Chile is a mature, transparent, and stable mining jurisdiction. We have a highly technological mining sector that fosters specialized human capital, facilitating the development of a cluster of suppliers that meets world-class standards.

Chile is exporting technology mining services to 39 markets, estimating US$ 94 million in 2017. Key Markets: Peru, USA, and Mexico.

The largest mining companies in the world operate in our country and the investment forecasts are for more than US$ 60 billion over the next seven years.

Vision of the future: We are promoting forward-looking, integrated, and sustainable mining. Committed to increasing productivity & sustainability, we strive to foster innovation and collaboration between mining companies, the surrounding communities & the suppliers to the industry.

The Mining Market in Chile

Latin America is known as a key mining region; with the region as a whole having a diverse abundance of natural resources. Chile stands out as a leader in the region and has an attractive legal framework, aimed at attracting foreign investment in the region. While Chile has greatly diversified its portfolio of sectors over the years, mining remains a great contributor to the national economy. In fact more than 50% of Chilean exports relate to the mining sector. Refined copper and copper ore represent both 20% of overall exports, respectively. Raw copper represents 3.1% of overall exports, followed by Gold 1.4%, Iron Ore 1.3%, Molybdenum Ore 1.2%, and other precious metals with a 0.64%.

Chile produces a third of the world’s copper and is a major producer of iodine, rhenium, and lithium. It is also growing in importance for its gold, silver, and molybdenum processing. CONSEJO MINERO, the association representing the largest producers of copper, gold, molybdenum and silver, the current mining investment portfolio stands at US$65bn for the period of 2018 to 2027. Mining companies have announced 44 projects in Chile, of which 14 relate to copper, seven are silver, gold and molybdenum projects (Source: Cochilco – Chilean Copper Commission –Mining portfolio 2018).

Currently, Chile is home to the largest copper mines in the world. The largest mine, the Escondido, is situated in the Atacama Desert and represents the largest copper mine in the world. Its production represents 5% of the global production and its reserves are estimated to last for the next 54 years. The Escondida is operated jointly by the BHP Billiton (57.5%), Rio Tinto Corporation (30%), the Japanese consortium of Mitsubishi (10%) and International Finance Corporation (2.5%). The next largest mine sites in Chile include Collahuasi, Andina or El Teniente. State-owned Codelco and another 25 mining companies undertake large scale mining – 10 to 12 companies represent 90 per cent of Chile’s copper production. Codelco produces 10 per cent of the world’s copper and almost 30 per cent of Chile’s total copper production.

Growth Opportunities:  5.7% CAGR is projected for 2020-2026

  1. Increasing investments in modernization 
    1. Wireless technologies
    2. Automation and robotics
    3. IoT and AI
    4. Electrification of mining equipment
    5. Safety in mining
    6. Intelligent mining (interoperability)
    7. Land rehabilitation and mine closure
    8. Energy Infrastructure
    9. Human capital and training in line with the industry’s current and future needs
    10. Environmental related products and services (tailing management, water treatment plants, software)
    11. Renewable energies.
    12. Advancements in logistics and transportation sectors; use of connected vehicles for transportation
  2. Rise in underground exploration, underground mining and especially block-caving
  3. Expansion of business operations and market presence through implementation of strategic initiatives such as mergers, joint ventures, and acquisitions.
  4. Focusing on increasing productivity, efficient mineral processing, and cost-efficiency
  5. Intelligent Mining: Intelligent mining is more than a concept or a trend, but more the future of the sector as a whole. Companies who hold intelligent mining processes, systems, technologies, and equipment have access to a range of attractive commercial opportunities in Chile, in both the short and long-term. Intelligent Mining transforms the way the decisions are made within the mining industry.  The digital revolution has led to changes in many industries, including mining. In recent times, there has been much talk in the mining community regarding Intelligent Mining.  The focus lies in the optimization of resources, such as energy and water. The companies engaged in intelligent mining try to understand where the waste is created during the process and aim to diminish it. Also, they try to adopt more sustainable-friendly practices to lower the negative impact of mining on the environment. A good example of a company practicing intelligent mining policy is Ecometales Limited, a subsidiary of Codelco Technologies Ltd. Ecometales submitted a Declaration of Environmental Impact for its Copper Concentrate Leaching Project. The project incorporates multiple environmental advantages. For example, it consumes less water than other alternative technologies, it does not generate arsenic or sulfur air emissions, only steam, and it produces stable arsenic waste in the form of scorodite. This is just one example of a company who has been able to take advantage of opportunities in the Chilean mining sector through intelligent mining.

Key Trends

  1. Rising industrial production
  2. Increase in automotive and aerospace production
  3. Rising iron ore demand from the agricultural sector 
  4. Technological advancements in mining equipment
  5. Increasing foreign trade of various minerals and metals

Growth Restraints

  1. Stringent regulatory policies
  2. Currency exchange rate fluctuation
  3. High costs in the procurement of mining equipment is challenging for small Chilean mining companies
  4. Relatively consolidated with a few companies dominating the market.
  5. Mining regulatory frameworks and government approvals for mining towards environmental conservation, pollution control, and greenhouse effects are challenging Chile mining market growth

Business Culture

Chile has a sophisticated approach to doing business, and Santiago, where most business is conducted, is a well-developed city. Chile takes a leading and active role in regional multilateral trade platforms, such as the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur and has more bilateral free trade agreements than any other country in Latin America.

Chile is considered one of South America’s most stable and prosperous countries, leading the list for competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption.
Chile has a market-oriented economy characterized by a high level of foreign trade and a reputation for strong financial institutions and sound policy that have given it the strongest sovereign bond rating in South America. Exports of goods and services account for approximately one-third of GDP, with commodities making up some three-quarters of total exports.

rating among the major economies of Latin America and the lowest yields on government debt.

Marketing your products and services

Many international suppliers to the mining industry have established an office in Chile.  Many have developed a presence through a subsidiary office, acquired a local company or developed a joint venture.
The best approach depends on factors such as the type of business, the appetite for risk, funds available to the company and issues around protection of intellectual property. Relationships are very important in Chile and a local partner can provide valuable connections and networks to decision makers.

There are also suppliers that prefer not to have a presence in Chile, instead selecting to sell into the market through distributors or agents. This approach is certainly less capital intensive but requires patience and a good local partner.
Some tips to keep in mind:

  • The Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) industry in Chile is highly competitive and all the major multinational vendors are in the market.
  • Setting up in Chile sends a strong message to customers signaling commitment to the market and will often convert interest into a solid commercial relationship.
  • Given the focus on productivity in the mining industry, prepare a concrete value proposition which demonstrates clearly how your solution has saved customers money in previous projects.
  • Understand Chilean mining company structures and their process for procurement. To be successful you need to be patient, persistent and polite. It is not uncommon that contacts will not answer emails.
  • It is important to consult with headquarters and the mine site while conducting business development. The mine sites tend to be in remote locations in the north of Chile and headquarters tend to be in Santiago.
  • It is becoming increasingly difficult to visit mine sites and meet with personnel due to increased protocols related to mine visits.  This is of course particularly difficult due to COVID-19.
  • Consider participating in technical seminars or the Exponor and Expomin industry conferences in Chile. They are excellent ways to meet customers and gather intelligence.
  • Carefully segment the market based on how open it is to new suppliers and whether it uses Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for procurement. Different mines within the same company can have vastly different cultures and procedures, affecting how willing they are to try a new approach or new supplier. Do your research on the mine itself, as well as the company that operates the mine.
  • It is important to be aware that while senior leaders often speak fluent English, U.S. companies will benefit from having staff or partners that speak Spanish. This is particularly relevant at middle management levels, where many negotiations are conducted.


Chilean media wants to report on new technology, services and products that respond to Chile challenges.

Some tips to help your media promotion:

  • Have communication collateral for your company in Spanish, this could be a local website and/or printed material.
  • Customize your value proposition and pitch your key messages to match.

Business Hours

Generally, business hours are 9.00am to 6.00pm, Monday through Friday.
Generally, business hours are 9.00am to 6.00pm – 7.00pm, Monday through Friday. There is a one-hour lunch break at 1.00 pm.
Banks are open from 9.00am to 2.00pm, Monday through Friday.

Public Holidays

January 1 – New Year’s Day
May 7 – Corpus Christi
August 15 – Sunday Assumption
September 18 – Independence Day
September 19 – Armed Forces Day
November 1 – All Saint’s Day
December 8 – Immaculate Conception
December 25 – Christmas Day
February is the traditional summer vacation month in Chile. Avoid visiting Chile during February, as most businesspeople are away from their offices.


Being in the southern hemisphere, the seasons in Chile are the opposite time of year from the United States.  For weather details in Chile, please visit the World Meteorological Organization


Oanda currency converter
The official currency in Chile is the Chilean Peso (CLP)

Time zones and time differences

To find out the current time in Santiago, view the World Clock

Current Local Times in Capitals Around the World (

Dialing codes

Chile’s country code is 56.
For calls to Chile from the USA dial: 0011 + 56 + area code + telephone number.
For calls from Chile to USA dial: 00 + 1 + area code + telephone number.