Sustainable development in the mining sector is a major theme of the first Meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Mining beginning today in Chile. Being held in Santiago, and the northern centres of Antofagasta and Calama, the Mining Ministers' Meeting will also address issues relating to the liberalization of trade in the mining sector.
On the issue of sustainable development, Ministers will consider ongoing developments in facilitating cleaner and more efficient mining activities. A productive mining sector that looks to long-term economic, environmental and social impacts is essential for APEC Member Economies, be these net producers or net consumers.
The ongoing expansion of sustainable mining practices and legacy issues, including the rehabilitation of mining sites will be discussed, and ways looked at to develop these issues through capacity building activities between member economies. Ministers will be presented with a number of options for consideration.
The other key issues for ministers will be the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment in the mining sector.
Ministers will look at future options for strengthening the mining sector by reducing tariff and non-tariff obstacles to free trade in mining products and facilitating greater investment in the mining industry.
Beginning with the first day of meetings today with Chile's Minister for Mining, Alfonso Dulanto, and bilateral discussions, Ministers are traveling to Antofagasta in the evening.
On June 16 Ministers will meet in a joint plenary session to discuss the key issues of the meeting and hold a press conference.
On June 17 Ministers will travel to the city of Calama and tour the expansive open-pit Chuquicamata copper mine where the Ministers' Declaration will be read.
APEC Member Economies are significant producers and consumers of minerals and metals. The APEC region produces 64% or the world's gold, 50% of bauxite, 66% or nickel, 82% of copper and 75% of zinc. Consumption is expected to reach 64% of gold, 66% of nickel, 64.3% of copper and 75% of zinc by 2005.