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Mining Cluster of the South seeks to shape an ecosystem of innovation in Peru

In its first year of operation, its focus has been on mapping the mining ecosystem of the southern region of Peru and to implement an open innovation program.

 “Transforming Peru into an innovation and entrepreneurship pole, applied to mining, through a technology-based mining suppliers sector, leaders in world-class solutions that increase the productivity and competitiveness of the industry as a whole and prosperity of the country. ”That is the objective of the Mining Cluster of Southern Peru (CMSP), an initiative promoted by CAF – Development Bank of Latin America, in alliance with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Arequipa – CCIA, which has been in operation since February 2019 and that seeks to shape an innovation ecosystem for mining in Peru.

The program is associated with four of the most important mining companies in the southern region of Peru: Anglo American Quellaveco, Hudbay Minerals, Southern Copper and Cerro Verde and in this first year of work, five strategic lines were defined: Governance, Open Innovation, International Cooperation, Knowledge Base and Competitiveness.“The work of this first year has been focused mainly on carrying out the first mapping of the mining ecosystem of the southern macro region, in which more than 3000 actors were identified and the implementation of an open innovation program, from which they arose more than 30 operational problems in the miners Hudbay Minerals, Anglo American and Southern ”, explains Benjamín Quijandría, manager of the Mining Cluster of the South, who in this interview tells us more details of this initiative and its challenges for the future.

What are the contributions of the Mining Cluster of the South to the Peruvian mining industry? What initiatives are you currently working on?

The purpose of the CMSP is to be an articulating entity between mining companies, suppliers, state, academy, R&D centers and multilateral organizations, promoting collaboration networks, and in parallel laying the foundations of an ecosystem of mining innovation. We have as references to Australia and Chile, and their successful experiences developing mining clusters and technology-based suppliers. And in that way a fundamental guideline of the initiative has been its open innovation program, from which more than 30 operational problems were raised in Hudbay, Anglo American and Southern, from there we selected 8 challenges that were presented at an event in PERUMIN in September of this year. These challenges received 42 solution proposals and we are currently in the process of selecting these proposals in coordination with the user areas of each mining company.

Additionally, we have carried out the first mapping of the mining ecosystem of the southern macro region, identifying more than three thousand actors, among which are mining companies, suppliers, academia, trade associations and chambers, state entities and other institutions.

Among the most emblematic projects we have for next year, there is one that promotes the construction of a technological roadmap for the mining sector and the creation of a center of excellence for mining, with the collaboration of public and private, national and international institutions.

What links do you have with the Chilean mining industry? Do you have any joint project? Do you think it is important that there is a collaborative work between both countries in this area?

In fact, we attach great importance to international cooperation ties and in that line a memorandum of understanding was signed with Expande, coordinated by Fundación Chile, last September and we hope to be able to implement it shortly through exchange programs, activities of networking and others. And we are in a conversation process to sign cooperation agreements with other institutions in Chile and Australia. The cooperation links go beyond these agreements, and that is how Mauro Valdés is a member of the steering committee of the CMSP, and we greatly appreciate that he has accepted our invitation since all his experience in the conformation The Chilean innovation mining ecosystem will be invaluable for the CMSP.

Peru and Chile concentrate about 40% of world copper production and almost half of their reserves, so it seems clear that both ecosystems must collaborate and exchange experiences, in order to increase the productivity and competitiveness of the sector, but above all so that mining becomes an engine of development and prosperity for our countries.

 How do you see the mining ecosystem of the region? What kind of collaboration do you see that can be generated between different countries regarding the mining industry? What are the main challenges of the region in terms of copper mining?

Undoubtedly, the global mining sector faces major common challenges in issues such as sustainable water use, tailings, automation, energy efficiency, reducing laws among others. Along these lines, the region shares these challenges and others that are even more common and specific, so it makes sense that they face each other collaboratively and that public and private efforts are made to develop a sector of suppliers that have the capacity to create knowledge, export it , and in parallel to double the impact of the sector on the economy, as happens in Australia for example with the METS (Mining Equipment Technology and Services).

We are still in a stage of development of the mining ecosystems in the region, it is important to join forces, share experiences and collaborate to consolidate them and think, why not, in the medium and long term to integrate them. However, the most important thing is that awareness is made that mining is a sector from which productive diversification, entrepreneurship ecosystems, growth, shared value and development in the region can be promoted.