Energy industry makes a powerful entrance at Exponor 2019
The most important International Exhibition in the country is increasingly open to the energy sector, and the next version will include a series of activities linked to this industry and its challenges. As the fuel that drives the mining powerhouse, the energy industry is vital to Chile today. A sure sign of this is the impact of large-scale copper mining on electrical power demand at a national level. Energy-intensive processes such as producing copper concentrate, extracting large quantities of ore due to falling mineral grades and the increasing use of sea water that needs to be transported over long distances to mine sites mean that the industry accounts for a third of the country's consumption. The link is also clear in the impact of energy on operational costs: electrical power typically makes up around 20% of mining company budgets. With this in mind, Exponor has worked in recent years to open up spaces at the event to exhibit new technologies and carry out seminars on the energy industry and its challenges. The country's most important International Mining Exhibition is not discounting the important role of the Region of Antofagasta in this industry, either, with a 2017-2018 energy project portfolio of 48 initiatives representing a total of almost 24 billion dollars in investment (33% of the national total). The 2019 version of the show will therefore include a full program focusing on this sector. This was confirmed by the General Manager of the Antofagasta Industrial Association (AIA), Fernando Cortez, who highlighted that "Exponor is a focal point for new mining technologies, and the energy industry, as the driving force of mining, cannot be overlooked. At each show we have included this relevant industry, and Exponor 2019 will be no exception. We are developing a program of activities focusing specifically on the energy industry", he explained. On this subject, the regional ministerial secretary for Energy in the Region of Antofagasta, Aldo Erazo, emphasized the importance of Exponor as an international exhibition for the energy industry. "It is highly valuable and notable that Exponor, the main showcase of global technology and innovation for mining in the north of the country, considers the energy industry to be one of its main areas of focus. The Government of President Sebastián Piñeracalls for us to work together to pave the way to modernized energy sector that works for the community. We want a ministry that puts energy at the service of the people, that leads modernization with the means necessary to secure future technological progress and put it within the reach of every Chilean", the regional leader explained.
Energy Efficiency and Renewables
The transfer of best practice in terms of energy efficiency and the incorporation of renewable, non-conventional energy sources has been identified as one of the main challenges for both mining and energy. With this in mind, major mining firms and power companies are already developing important initiatives in this area. One of them is AES Gener, a power Company that supplies energy to the Central Interconnected Grid (SIC) and prioritizes the development of best practice in energy efficiency. "Our clients are very aware of the need to seek savings that allow them to continue to improve their competitiveness. Our customers compete in the global market, where efficiency revolves around cost and amount of energy demand. Under the focus on generating new technologies, AES Gener is developing special platforms for its clients and will incorporate new tools to provide added value to the solutions that we develop with them", explained the company's commercial vice president, Rodrigo Sáez. With regards to renewables, Codelco has taken on this challenge and has a series of projects already underway. In this sense, Francisco Danitz, Energy and Water Resource Manager at Codelco, points out that "it is best to divide the initiatives into two. First, there are those that are centralized and form the base of our supply: solar and wind energy that is distributed throughout Chile. On the other hand, decentralized distribution is already part of our portfolio and we are working with several of our clients to integrate this at different scales". The 2019 edition of Exponor, which will take place from May 27th to 30th with China as guest nation, has support from relevant actors in the sector such as Albemarle, Antofagasta Minerals, Lomas Bayas, Minera Escondida, SQM and theSupplier Qualification System (SICEP). Its sponsors are: the Mining Council, Sonami, Sofofa, Aprimin, the Chilean Government,the Ministry of Mining, the Ministry for the Economy, Development and Tourism, Pro Chile, Direcon and the Regional Government. Its press partner is the magazine Mineria Chilena. The 2017 version of Exponor generated annual projected business worth 800 million dollars, with the participation of one thousand exhibitors from 30 countries. 40 thousand visits were recorded, 1,292 face-to-face meetings took place involving 98 executives from 16 different mining companies, 7 site visits were carried out along with 120 technical talks and 3 after-office networking sessions, 3 seminars with the participation of 950 people and over 300 innovations and technologies were featured prior to the event.