Regional Cooperation

What impacts are we achieving in the extractive sector in the Andean countries? - A successful example of regional cooperation


05.05.2021 |

The regional project Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Mining in the Andean Countries (MinSus), implemented by GIZ and BGR on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), has been active in the Andean countries, more specifically in Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru, since 2016. What is the importance of extractive industries for the region and what impacts have been achieved since the start of regional cooperation to bring the mining sector in line with the 2030 Agenda?

Importance of extractives in the region

Without raw materials, there can be no energy and mobility transition: Many of the raw materials needed for renewable energy technologies, such as lithium (EV batteries) or copper (wind turbines), are mined in Andean countries. For example, 41% of the world's copper production currently* takes place in Andean countries, led by Chile and Peru. The region is also home to 51 % of global lithium reserves. In Peru and Chile, the export of raw materials accounts for more than 50 % of total exports and is an important source of public revenue. Thus, the mining sector holds great potential for the economic and social development of the region. The implementation of sustainable and responsible mining practices and a high level of transparency along the entire supply chain are therefore even more important - the MinSus programme is committed to both.

This is done along three concrete fields of action:

Policies and strategies: The programme supports governments and companies in integrating economic, social and environmental best practices. This is done, for example, by supporting initiatives to develop and track responsible supply chains and certification schemes, improving the design and implementation of environmental impact assessments and developing tools to increase transparency in the collection and management of mining revenues.     

Stakeholder governance: The programme promotes multi-stakeholder dialogues and the active participation of minorities, local communities and civil society in the decision-making process. This is done by mainstreaming human rights and gender approaches, strengthening transparent and well-functioning grievance mechanisms and supporting community- and data-based monitoring systems that ensure equitable access to information. In turn, this will develop common goals that reflect the interests of the various stakeholder groups in the regions affected by mining.  

Technology transfer and innovation promotion: The programme promotes innovations that reduce the environmental footprint of mining activities. This is done by supporting new approaches to water management and energy efficiency; piloting the rehabilitation of abandoned mining sites to reduce potential health and environmental hazards; and promoting the reuse of tailings and other mining waste ("secondary mining"). Innovative approaches by supplier companies are also supported to increase local value creation in the mining sector.

MinSus Flyer Ausschnittenglisch

Impacts of the project achieved so far

The implementation of local pilot projects pursues the goal of achieving the Paris Climate Targets at the international level and the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals at the local level.

Some highlights of the results achieved so far are**:

  • Training of over 1000 change agents in civil society, governments and the private sector to share their experiences in dialogue processes and networks in the region.
  • Training of more than 350 people; 44 % of them women; for example, staff from regulatory and permitting agencies in the Andean region have been trained in environmental issues such as water and energy efficiency in resource production and sustainable practices in mine closure. By improving the qualifications of officials and decision-makers in the environmental and mining authorities, an alignment of the requirements of Andean mining with international environmental and social standards is promoted.
  • Support to 6 multi-stakeholder alliances; for example, the EITI process in Colombia was supported in the preparation of the national evaluation process. In addition, local multi-stakeholder processes were established in the country to pilot the EITI process at the regional level.
  • Conclusion of two public-private partnerships; a collaboration between a mining supplier and the University of Chile for the development of machine automation technologies was funded. In addition, a public-private collaboration with a German company conducted high-resolution studies of tailings in Chile. The use of such innovative technologies from industrialised countries is a great opportunity for emerging countries to cost-effectively investigate existing mining waste for its potential for reprocessing (recycling). The use of mine waste as a source of raw materials (secondary mining) contributes to a sustainable circular economy and climate protection.   
  • Incorporating gender and human rights approaches; the Colombian government was supported in the development and implementation of the gender strategy for the extractive sector. The programme also launched the Working Group of the Ibero-American Association of Ombudsman Authorities on Mining Companies and Human Rights. The working group has developed recommendations on integrating a human rights approach into environmental evaluations of mining projects.

Visit and learn more about regional cooperation in the Andean countries (also in Spanish).

For further information please contact Nicolas Maennling or Achim Constantin.

* as in 2019

**as in march 2020

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