The Dominican Republic handed over the executive direction of the XII Annual Conference of Mining Ministries of the Americas (CAMMA) to Chile, host country in 2023 of this event, crucial for the global exchange of knowledge and collaboration in the extractive industry.
During the opening speech, the Minister of Energy and Mines, Antonio Almonte, expressed his gratitude to the participants for their dedication and commitment during the year in which the country led this space, which served as a platform for knowledge and experiences in the mining sector of the Americas, addressing its challenges and opportunities.
The Dominican Republic hosted this conference in 2022, where support was given to sustainable mining and the contributions of this sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) were recognized.
Almonte highlighted the importance of considering regional cooperation in the extractive activity, as well as the management of strategic minerals to ensure a sustainable, affordable and fair supply in the region.
The official congratulated the South American country for its commitment and leadership in organizing the conference, while indicating that it will be an important milestone in the search for solutions and advances in the mining sector.
Likewise, the Vice Minister of Mines, Miguel Díaz, participated in the discussion and decision-making sessions. The different ministries were invited to share the policies, priorities and needs of each country as a starting point to generate the work plan.
Among the issues addressed as a priority was the need to strengthen national geological services and in some cases to create them, in order to achieve a better diagnosis of the resources available in the region.
It was also agreed to support artisanal mining as a means to combat illegal mining, as well as to strengthen legislation and control processes to eradicate illegal extraction and its negative consequences.
The need to increase research on rare earths and lithium was also considered, as well as to accelerate the development of critical mineral projects. It was also advocated for the reduction of social conflicts surrounding extractive activities and the development of simpler but effective environmental regulations.
Mining and its importance in the DR
Díaz, representing the country, explained that the mining sector has been fundamental in the growth of national exports in the last decade, with gold being our main national export product for several years.
The vice-minister highlighted the nation’s interest in cooperating with other countries in the area of strategic materials and in articulating a regional strategy around them.
El Teniente Mine
The conference closed with a visit to the world-class El Teniente mine, the largest subway mine in the world, which has been operating for 118 years.
El Teniente has the resources to operate for at least another 50 years. It produces 405,000 tons of copper per year. In addition, in the last 15 years it has contributed 20.5 billion US dollars.
The state-owned company has some 150 electric buses in operation to transport its personnel and is undergoing an accelerated automation process. It plans to test autonomous and electric ore loaders at its subway operation next year. El Teniente aims to create social, environmental and economic value.
The magnitude of the operation could be appreciated there, as well as its positive effect on the communities in its territory and the importance of its fiscal contribution to Chilean society.
They also showed their state-of-the-art technologies to improve the safety and health of their workers, as well as environmental impacts.
Invites to the Green Mining in the Americas and the Caribbean 2024 Forum
Minister Almonte invited those present to join the “Green Mining Forum in the Americas and the Caribbean”, to be held in April 2024 in the country.
He said that this event aims to foster the exchange of experiences to strengthen good practices in the extractive industry sector, promoting environmental and social governance, as well as global decarbonization based on green mining policies.