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Mining in Chile

In Chile, mining is a crucial component of the overall economy and an age-old endeavor with a culture of its own. Although operations exist throughout the length of the country, mining reigns supreme in the Chilean north.

The sophistication and relevance attained by Chilean mining are based on:

  • Resource quality, reserve base, and deposit location.
  • A legal framework ensuring stability and security.
  • National treatment and attractive opportunities for foreign investment.
  • Highly skilled mining specialists.
  • Advanced energy infrastructure and transportation network.
  • Clusters of goods and services suppliers located in key mining areas.


 

 

 

General Country Information

Key country statistics are shown below

Table 1: Key Chile Statistics

Concept Information
AREA
Land Surface
756,250 km2, not including Antarctic territory.
Administrative Division
Seixteen regions (numbered I to XVI) from north to south. Santiago, the nation’s capital, stands in the Metropolitan Region.​​
POPULATION
Inhabitants 18.49.192 (est. 2017)
Annual Growth 1,5% (2017/2016)
Workforce 9.019,38 (miles) personas, (ago-oct 2018)​
Unemployment Rate 7,1% (ago-oct. 2018)
Gross Domestic Product
GDP US$277,1 billion (2017)​
Per Capita Income US$ 15.346,45 (2017)​
TRADE
Exports (FOB) ​US$68.306 mills  (2017)​
Imports (CIF) US$65.162 mills (2017)
Exchange Rate Average 12% (2016/2017)​
FOREIGN INVESTMENT (1974-2007)
Mining US$4.900 millones (2017)
Overall US$6.419 millones (2017)
INFLATION
Annual Rate 2.3% (2017)​

Mining in Chile

The table below illustrates mining sector performance and contribution to the overall economy in recent years.

Table 2: Key Mining Indicators

Description 2008 2012 2017
Metals
Copper (kMTF/year)
5,327.6
5,433.9
5,503.5
Gold (k fine/year)
39,1
49,9
37,9             
Silver (​k fine/year)
1,405.0
1,194.0
1,318.5
Molybdenum (MTF/year)
33,686
35,089
37,911
Iron (kMT/year)
5,670.0
9,429.0             
9,549.3
Exports (US$ FOB Mn.)
Country
64,510
78,063
68,306
Mining
41,900.0
47,028.1
37,077.6
Mining as a Share of Country Total
61,2%
62,2 %
54,6%
Copper
36,550.2
41,779.4
33,851.6
Copper as a Share of Mining Total
52,2 %             
53,4 %
49,6%
Foreign Investment  DL 600 1974 -2015 (US$ Mn.) 
Total Actual FDI
 
 
114,543.9
Minería (mill. de US$ acum.)
 
 
37,713.2
Participación de la minería
 
 
32,9%
Mining as a Share of GDP 2017
GDP (US$ Mn.)
 
 
179,776
Mining (current prices)
 
 
10,1%
Source: Chilean Copper Commission, based on National Geology and Mining Service, Central Bank, and Foreign Investment Committee reports

Chilean Mining in the World

Chile is noted worldwide for the vastness and quality of its mining resources. Current rates of development place Chile as a world leader in some key minerals.

The table below illustrates the Chilean position on the international mining scene:

 

Table 3: Chile and World Mining
Key Products as a Share of World Total 

 
Resource Production in 2017
Share of World Production
Share of World
Reserves
 
Metals
Copper [MT]
 5,503.5
 27,2%
 21%
 
Molybdenum [MT]
 62,7
20.4%
 11%
 
Silver (MT)
 1,318.6
 5,3%
 5%
 
Gold (MT)
 37,9
1.2%
 7%
 
Metals
Nitrate
1,160,384
100%
100%
 
Iodine
15,473
60%
11%
 
Lithium [3]
55,452
37.6%
48%
 
Source: Minerals Commodity Summaries (USGS) y World Metal Statistics

Mining Sector Development

Copper, Gold and Silver Deposit

The degree of copper mineralization in Chile has no equal around the world. Indeed, Chile is home to some of the world’s largest, better known copper mines.

 

Approximately 80 percent of Chilean production comes from porphyry copper deposits rich in molybdenum, gold, and silver byproducts. Most such deposits lie in northern Chile (20º to 26º S).

 

The second-largest source of copper production and reserves are stratabound deposits located primarily on northern coastal areas and parts of central Chile. These contain mostly primary sulfides and some exotic copper. Vein-type deposits are nearly depleted.

 

Gold mineralization is abundant. While alluvial deposits can be found throughout the country, development focuses on epithermal deposits often associated with silver. Leading gold districts stand from 26º to 32º S.


 

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