TORONTO, March 4, 2015 /CNW/ -- Chile, with just 17 million people, is the world's 17th largest recipient of foreign direct investment and the most favored investment destination on its region. The South American country's stable macro-economic fundamentals, free market economy, and well-educated work force are all key advantages that helped to attract US$23.3-billion in investment in 2014.
Chile is the world's leading copper producer and second largest gold producer.
"In addition to being a global mining power, Chile is a leader in mining investments, with economic and political stability and solid institutions. This has made us a country that offers an optimal climate for foreign investors, as well as long-term guarantees," said Ignacio Moreno, Chile's Mining Vice Minister, at a seminar at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) on Wednesday March 4.
The landscape has changed as Chile continues to implement and enforce stricter environmental standards in the mining sector and create world-class institutions devoted to sustainability.
"Chile has improved its sustainability in the mining sector and raised its standards since joining the OECD," added Mr. Moreno.
The South American country – where more than half a dozen Canadian mining companies are active – has many competitive business advantages, including a stable democracy, modern and open financial system, legal guarantees, and a commitment to free trade. It has preferential access to 63% of the world's population.
Canada and Chile have had a Free Trade Agreement since 1997 and bilateral trade has grown at an annual average of 10%.
The Toronto Stock Exchange welcomed representatives from the Santiago Stock Exchange to celebrate the new venture market in Chile: the Santiago Stock Exchange, Venture. TSXV and Santiago Stock Exchange entered into an agreement this time last year to leverage the experience of TSXV in facilitating capital formation for early-stage growth companies, while also providing the opportunity for TSXV issuers to dual-list on the new market.
Chile, a safe place to invest
Chile has been ranked number one in Latin America the Index of Economic Freedom 2015, published by the Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Wall Street Journal.
The government has invested heavily in the copper sector, and has committed to improving the concessions system to facilitate the creation of new mines and encourage exploration. Community consultation is also key, as many of the deposits are located in Chile's arid north where indigenous communities live. "It is not possible to visualize a mining project without working with the community, taking into account their interests and vision on environmental, geographical and cultural issues," said Ignacio Moreno. "This ultimately is good for business."
Mr. Moreno and Bill Bennett, British Columbia's Minister of Energy and Mines, signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday at PDAC, aimed at strengthening the relationship between B.C. and Chile in the mining sector, encouraging investment of companies in each country's mining sectors and recognizing the strategic importance of expanding further cooperation in trade and investment.
Also at the PDAC were Jorge Pizarro, executive vice president of the Foreign Investment Committee of Chile, Alfonso Silva, ambassador of Chile in Canada, Juan Antonio Figueroa, Trade Commissioner ProChile Canada, and representatives from a number of companies and organizations including ENAMI (the Chilean National Mining Corporation), SONAMI (the National Society of Mining) and CODELCO (the National Copper Corporation of Chile).
Jorge Pizarro, Executive Vice President of the Foreign Investment Committee, said "the fact that foreign investment in Latin America overall went down by 19%, but in Chile it went up by 15% shows that foreign investors see excellent business opportunities and a dynamism in Chile that they don't see in other markets."
Chile's independent legal framework also facilitates the delivery of permits for exploration and mining, as well as water and property rights.
"Chile is a safe place to do business. Risk ratings agencies have increased or maintained their high ratings, highlighting our low level of public debt, health of our financial system and solid institutions," added Mr. Pizarro.
The PDAC is the biggest annual gathering of the world's mineral industry, attracting 30,000 people including a 100-person delegation from Chile and several Canadian cabinet ministers.
Journalist, Communications Department ProChile