After an unusually tumultuous 2019, things looked promising for Chile’s mining industry at the beginning of 2020, as the copper price reached US$2.80/lb on the back of improved trade relations between the US and China. The general sentiment was that the global economy was on the mend, however, these dynamics have since shifted drastically as the novel coronavirus spread around the world. As a result of government enforced lockdowns on a global level, movement and commerce have come to an abrupt stop. Consequently, demand for most metals has fallen substantially.
This is a profoundly complicated problem for Chile at a time when the country is depending on its trusted mining industry to bolster its economy and lead it out of social crisis. Across the value chain, both local and international companies are eager to deploy the latest technologies and engineering to capitalize on a wealth of opportunities in copper, gold and lithium. While the full impact of the pandemic on the Chilean mining industry has yet to be seen, how the country navigates this challenge to remain one of the leading mining jurisdictions will be fundamental to its recovery and future growth.