Mining Minister Baldo Prokurica and Mining Undersecretary Ricardo Irarrázabal participated in a special session of the Mining Ministries of the Americas Conference (Conferencia de Ministerios de Minería de las Américas, CAMMA). During the meeting, representatives of several countries of the region highlighted the measures promoted by President Sebastián Piñera’s Government and the industry to address the spread of Covid-19 in Chile while maintaining operational continuity at mining sites.
After the virtual conference, the Minister stated that the meeting “was extremely important because we had the opportunity to discuss the mechanisms that we are using to protect the lives and physical integrity of mining workers while maintaining productivity. We shared our experiences as a country, which could be useful for others, while also learning from the measures that they are implementing that we could apply here.”
Minister Prokurica added, “mining is fundamental in most countries. I believe that our experience of maintaining continuity - not without sacrifice - has been successful, and we want to share it.”
Meanwhile, Mining Undersecretary Ricardo Irarrázabal explained that during the meeting “we learned about a range of experiences from ministers and vice ministers from the Americas regarding how coronavirus has been addressed from the perspective of the industry. Some countries have completely halted operations, while others have continued, while following their government’s guidelines. Such is the case in Chile. Minister Prokurica gave a presentation and was congratulated by the other ministers on how well Chile has addressed this disease in a way that is compatible with the mining industry.”
During the meeting, the Minister explained to the members of CAMMA that the measures taken by the industry include maintaining work site production with minimum staffing and demobilizing over 25,000 mining workers, 95% of whom were working on construction projects. Over 100 companies have implemented 14 x 14 shifts and there are a series of other initiatives that have been taken to protect the health of workers in the mining industry.
Mining ministers from Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Guyana participated in the conference.