You were part of the Chilean delegation that visited Switzerland in August.
What motivated you to take part in the delegation trip?
The unique experience in the field of clean technologies that this trip promised was undoubtedly my main motivation. Getting to know the world trends and new technologies in this area was perceived as a great opportunity for me and for the area where I work. Also, we travelled as a group, so networking happened naturally.
Switzerland is the living example that, with the right technology, the development and care of the environment are not incompatible. And that sustainable development is not a utopia.
Was the trip worth it for you? What impressed you the most during your visit?
Of course it was worth it. What was most remarkable was their simplicity, their practical sense to solve complex issues. The way of “Swiss thinking” allows simple but highly effective solutions to difficult problems.
Another aspect that impressed me was the cleanliness of the country and its concern for the environment. You can feel and see this mentality in every corner of the country, in its rivers, the beauty of the Swiss landscapes and its culture. This is when you realize: the best example of working clean technology is Switzerland itself.
What role do cleantech technologies play in the Chilean mining sector? Why is there a demand for cleantech technologies?
A current challenge of Chilean Mining is to reach the highest environmental levels, to use natural resources more efficiently, minimizing the devaluation caused by pollution and erosion.
Today, Chile is going through the worst drought in its contemporary history, which has had a strong impact on the mining industry. If the required mitigation and environmental care measures are not implemented quickly, the social and environmental cost will exceed the economic benefits.
On the other hand, the institutionalization of environmental issues has created a series of laws and organizations, which demand greater corporate responsibility and more innovative and technological remedies.
In this stage, clean technology, complemented by a conscious culture with the environment, rather than only adding value, satisfies a vital need for the continuity of mining activity. Facing big problems, big solutions are required.
What potential do Swiss cleantech technologies have for being used in the Chilean mining sector?
Actually, many of these cutting-edge technologies have reached a sufficient level of development to solve the most urgent environmental and energy problems of the mining industry in Chile, such as the reduction of water consumption and the use of clean and renewable energy sources.
The accumulated experience, the innovative character and its excellent performance in the aforementioned areas, make Swiss technology and its usage the most appropriate ones to implement into environmental management processes.
Thus, the high reliability of Swiss technology could make it one of our best tools to face the mega drought that currently affects the mining sector and the country.
What is the reputation of Swiss technologies in Chile?
In my country, Swiss technology is quality, it is innovation and it is excellence. When you implement Swiss technology in your processes, you know that you are integrating the best existing solutions and practices.
Do you plan to work with Swiss companies in the future?
Whenever environmental issues are dealt with in the sector, it is impossible not to consider Swiss high technology in your search for answers to these variables.
It should be considered, that the geographical reality of Switzerland is very similar to Chile. Therefore, experience gained in Switzerland will greatly facilitate the implementation of this technology in Chile.
What challenges do you see for Swiss companies wishing to do business in Chile?
The biggest challenges in the implementation of Swiss technology are mainly cultural differences in education and environmental care habits, and the commercial viability of these environmental solutions.
In Chile, an awareness of respect for the environment is being formed, both at a personal and business level. As you move towards a lifestyle that fully internalizes the care of the environment and the planet, it will be much easier and more natural to assimilate and adapt to the new environmental protocols and technologies.
The second challenge is related to the high cost of these technologies for a middle-income country like ours. This could be mitigated as far as the cost is offset by the high value created through the best use of resources and new energy sources.