"Being at the forefront of green mineral production is part of Chile's strategic positioning."

Jerome Pelletier, Benoit Richard and Stéphane Charest

PRESIDENT AND CEO (JP), PARTNERT AND OFFICE DIRECTOR (BR) AND VICE-PRESIDENT, DECARBONIZATION, ENERGY AND CHEMICALS (SC), BBA

May 17, 2024

Would you introduce BBA and its operations in Chile?

JP: BBA is a consulting and engineering firm, and we have been in Chile for three years. Our services can be categorized into four branches: consulting/advising, design, environment and operational support.

BR: In Chile, we started with providing a service for operational excellence, supporting our clients to improve their global efficiency in operations or in construction projects. So far, we have been successful in our mission to build a multidisciplinary engineering team and to reproduce our successful model from Canada in Chile. We offer environmental services (permitting, social and community guidance), mineral processing, geology and mining, mechanical, piping, electrical, automation, civil, geotechnical and tailings management services. BBA’s model has always been to focus on onsite presence. We support some of the major players, including Codelco, Teck, Glencore and Antofagasta Minerals (AMSA), as well as CMP in iron ore projects, but we want to extend support to all types of operations.

What trends are currently seizing the mining industry, particularly in Chile?

JP: There are major investments toward decarbonization. Our clients are improving their assets, plants and investments. All our clients have a 2050 net zero plan, with fixed targets for 2030. 

Health and safety are paramount in mining, alongside the ongoing trends of digitalization and automation. With a scarcity of qualified personnel and mines often located in remote areas, the industry is increasingly exploring automation solutions. Remotely  run operations will become increasingly prevalent.

How are Chilean clients advancing with 2050 net-zero goals and how does BBA help? 

BR: Some clients need us to put action behind the words of decarbonization. We guide clients in restructuring their own organizations and internal processes to allow decarbonization to flow from a high-level idea to on-the-ground action.

JP: New value chains are being built in every commodity: green copper, green iron, green aluminum, and more. Everything is becoming green. Our goal is to help clients bring to market these value-added minerals. 

What differentiates Chile in the global mining sphere?

BR: Chile will become a pioneer in digitalization, adopting technology, decarbonization and ESG guidance, not only because the country has the expertise, but also because it’s necessary. Lithium is attracting global investments and copper has for years. Most international companies are in Chile. Chile is BBA’s first international expansion for a reason. We want to become an organization that is making a difference in the world, and Chile is the place to start.

SC: To produce the critical minerals needed for decarbonization, Chile benefits from sources of renewable energy. If you look at electrifying mineral-producing processes, the benefit of having wind in the south and solar in the north is enormous. Being at the forefront of green mineral production is part of Chile's strategic positioning.

What are BBA’s decarbonization initiatives?

JP: We committed to being net zero by 2030. Furthermore, we committed to compensate for all BBA’s past emissions. Last December, we announced our investment in Tree Canada. We’ve compensated for our emissions from the last 44 years. 

BR: At BBA, net zero isn’t a high-level concept, rather it’s executed on the level of our employees. For example, our Connect platform enables employees to suggest ways our firm can improve. These initiatives have been executed.

What are BBA’s goals for the next three years?

JP: We will keep building our firm across Canada, as well as our international operations. There will be a new office in the USA in 2024, and likely more in 2025. Santiago is and will continue to be our South American hub, but, by 2027, we are looking to expand throughout the country to have easier access to our clients’ regional operations.

BR: In Chile, people are driven by saving the planet. We want to leverage local workforces. We do not want to grow for the sake of growing. We already serve clients in Argentina, Peru, Columbia, Brazil and Mexico, but Chile is the best place to do business. The expertise and potential are here. Our core strategy is to locally support our clients and, when possible, open offices locally, near their operations.

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