Incentivando la Innovación Colaborativa en la Industria Minera
Considering the degree of technological advancement that the different areas of knowledge have reached during the last decades —which have generated substantial changes in the technological solutions applied in various industries, including the national mining industry— the need to develop innovation in technology must be taken into account because technological innovation refers to change, to creating a new and better solution compared to the previous one.
The current state of mining is governed by poor development of new technologies. There is a shared diagnosis that the industry is extremely conservative and resistant to change. This is clearly seen in our country, which is far from being an exporter of products and services developed in the area (although the mining industry represents one of the main economic activities of the territory).
Despite the size and impact of this industry in the local economy, the providers of mining goods and services in Chile have not been able to make a significant leap that would allow them to position themselves as large companies internationally. Our country is far from having a base of providers that functions as a development lever to produce goods and services with added value and thus increase the export offer to the rest of the world.
The mining companies that operate in our territory are mainly large transnational corporations that import their main equipment, supplies and services. This generates an asymmetric relationship between stakeholders of the mining ecosystem (producers, providers and R & D centers), where the biggest fish ends up eating the smallest.
There is no collaborative model among producers, providers and research centers creating the ideal environment so that local providers or research centers come up with technological innovations. This happens because most (small) providers do not have the necessary resources and skills to approach new solutions that allow them to diversify their offer of products and services.
Due to this lack of collaborative dynamics, there is little communication between the entities, which reduces the possibilities of knowing the real requirements of the stakeholders. This causes difficulties when identifying common problems with other actors and, therefore, resources and time are wasted because each one works to find solutions separately instead of establishing a network of collaboration and exchange of information to advance towards collaborative innovation.
National mining companies are extremely conservative to develop and implement new technologies with local providers since they prefer to interact with transnational companies that have proven progress, as it was mentioned above. However, for the next decade, the exploitation of mines with much more difficult and complex characteristics than the current ones is expected (greater depth, lower grades, higher hardness, among others). This will demand different processes and solutions that incorporate collaborative technologies and dynamics.
With this in mind, the National Program of High-Grading Mining –an initiative of CORFO and the Ministry of Mining whose main objective is to strengthen productivity, competitiveness, and innovation in the national mining industry– alongside Minnovex, Aprimin and the Ministry of Mining raised this request through a strategic public good whose purpose is to develop a framework and a handbook of good practices that allow, in the short and medium term, to facilitate collaborative innovation in the industry.
Then, the iUAI Mining Center won the tender, revealing an exhaustive research that seeks to lay the foundations to create a collaborative model among the stakeholders of the industry as well as to identify the good practices that arise from a series of successful cases, where it is demonstrated that local technological innovation can be generated if joint efforts are made. The project hopes to contribute to diversify the technologies produced in Chile and that local providers can be regarded as world-class companies hence increasing sectoral competitiveness and diversifying Chile’s exports of goods and services.
The research carried out is contained in two reports (available for download) where the main contractual aspects that influence the collaborative process are reported. At the same time, the barriers to the development of technological innovation that are present in the environment are identified, as well as good practices and successful cases where we will be able to identify the elements that facilitate and allow innovation. All this in order to provide the necessary information so that our mining industry grows, becomes independent and adapts successfully to future challenges.
Proyecto financiado por el Fondo de Inversión Estratégica del Ministerio de Economía, Fomento y Turismo a través de CORFO.
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