This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 11/27/2019

Overview

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.
 
 2016201720182019 estimated
Total Local Production1,2091,3271,7791,651
Total Exports256258322310
Total Imports203222155208
Imports from the US1,1561,2911,6121,549
Total Market Size264307363349
Exchange Rates: 1 USD680649641676
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.
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.

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 in an effort to reduce their carbon foot print.  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.  The major local players continue to be Canadian, Australian and European mining companies.  Tianqui Lithium of China owns 24 percent of SQM.
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
Opportunities
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.

Trade Events
In Chile, there are two mining trade shows in alternate years, EXPOMIN and EXPONOR. 
EXPOMIN  is the world’s largest mining trade show outside of the U.S.  Its global attendance gathered over 1,350 exhibitors in 2018.  The official U.S. Pavilion features well over 100 exhibitors. Expomin takes place on even years in Santiago, with the next taking place April 20-24, 2020.   The 2020 version will feature the U.S. as the “country of honor.”
EXPONOR  is Chile’s second largest mining trade show after EXPOMIN.  The show will take place in May, 2021, in the northern city of Antafogasta.  The U.S. Pavilion features about 70 exhibitors. 

In the past, both trade shows have received certification from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
For additional information, contact Mr. Marcelo Orellana marcelo.orellana@trade.gov


 

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Chile Energy Trade Development and Promotion