Expande is involved in the work that is being carried out by Fundación Chile aimed at promoting high impact solutions that grow and transform Chile toward sustainable development, placing the stress on creating virtuous circles between economic growth, environmental protection and social development.

The Chilean mining industry faces challenges at a global level that require the creation of tech solutions that enable the industry to grow competitively and sustainably. Within this context then, the exploration of a more mature ecosystem becomes absolutely essential in order to contribute toward an increase in world class suppliers and, at the same time, of a sector that is traveling from natural resources to a knowledge-intensive economy.

So, Expande and the Open Innovation Program on Mining is playing a key role when it allows, by means of a linked model, connections concerning demand for tech solutions by mining companies and their provision coming from suppliers, aimed at establishing the installation of technological capacities capable of encouraging the development of an industry with diversified products and services and with a potential for repeatability and exports, thus contributing toward the long term goal of the High Grade Corporation which is that of reaching USD 4,000 million in exports and creating 250 world class companies by the year 2035.

Expande was designed and implemented by Fundación Chile aimed at providing high impact solutions that would able Chile to grow and transform toward a sustainable development. At present, its public-private governance enjoys the participation of Corfo, the Ministry for the Economy, Ministry for Mining, BID Lab, High Grade Corporation and the mining companies: Codelco, BHP, Antofagasta Minerals as well as the recently incorporated, Collahuasi.

Enrique Molina, Executive Director of Expande, regarding this point, declared that: “mining companies and partners of ours represent a critical mass for the program that allows them to stand out as a landmark in the world and a space of great potential for gaining innovatory traction”.

He further went on to say that “although Chile has world class mines, maintaining its leadership in terms of international participation and competitiveness requires new methods and technologies when it comes to exploring future pits and where “Open Innovation” plays a strategic role in its development and, especially, for the emergence of local high standard suppliers”.

When the time comes to evaluate the impact the Program has had so far and after two years in existence, he declared that it “had mapped more than 950 solutions coming from 500 suppliers, besides carrying out more than 50 innovation processes aimed at connecting the challenges of the companies partners who see in the program an opportunity to discover solutions for problems they have detected in their operations”.

Nowadays, and thanks to the linkup model, Expande has also been able to establish working collaborative relations with different organizations, where the stress is placed on the regions, so as to drum up more opportunities for the development of local suppliers. So, in its 23 months, it has worked collaboratively with different entities, such as AMTC; the Association of Industries of Antofagasta (AIA); CAMCHAL; the National Pilotage Center (CNP); CIPTEMIN; Antofagasta Mining Cluster; Corfo Antofagasta; Endeavor Chile; Inapi; Minnovex, OpenLab of Open Beauchef and Prochile, among others.

In addition to this are the efforts put in with other mining innovation ecosystems and tech countries which gave its first fruits this year with the launch of two tech immersion programs: METStech Passport promoted together with MetsIgnited and Austrade and the Digital Transformation Challenge developed together with the representatives from the Federal State of Bavaria for South America.

Expande’s challenge

The board emphasized also the role played by Expande in generating knowhow that can later be transferred to the ecosystem, and in 2018 this was reflected in the development of workshops, studies, publications and participation in events of great relevance at an international level, such as Expomin in Chile, Imarc in Australia and Expomina in Peru.

What is more, it predicted that during this 2019, Expande’s challenge is to continue strengthening the ecosystem of innovation in mining with an emphasis on the north of the country, specifically in Tarapacá and Antofagasta; hubs of regional enterprise and epicenters of mining activities to identify problems across the board that enable resources to be assigned and optimized and to encourage get-togethers in order to find solutions.

To this could be added the work with the two pilotage centers and with which Expande has agreements (CIPTEMIN and CNP), offering services for spaces for technology validation tests.

“With this, we are aiming to benefit the development of an ecosystem of local suppliers by allowing them to access the final phase of their development, which is: validation, certification and packaging of a tech product”, Enrique Molina pointed out.

*Note published in the Economy and Business section of El Mercurio/ 19-12-2018