Cooperation between Latin America and Europe is clearly justified

The use of mineral resources is of major importance for almost all Latin American and European countries with strong mining traditions, and for which the industry was, and is, directly or indirectly, the main source of wealth-generation and development of some municipalities, regions and even nations.

This is an issue that is almost as old as man himself. Mineral resources have conditioned the evolution of humanity in such a way, that the origins of the first pre-history period names are related to such materials: Paleolithic, Neolithic, Iron Age, Bronze Age. It has always been like that throughout history, even in civilizations whose pillars were based in a philosophy of respect and communion with nature.

The need to establish mechanisms of cooperation in this area between Latin America and Europe is then clearly justified and should focus on the needs of society, just like the recently approved Sustainable Development Goals, devoted primarily to:

  • research for the discovery of new mineral deposits and development of technological innovation in the mining processes and products;
  • land use planning supported by geological knowledge in order to safeguard the main areas of occurrence of mineral resources;
  • the use of the best available technology in order to minimize the negative environmental impacts arising from the extractive industry.
  • the involvement of local communities of the main mining areas so that they are the major beneficiaries of this activity and thus facilitating the obtaining of a social license to operate.

To this end, it should be noted that a recent initiative of the European Commission was launched in the beginning of 2017: the EU-Latin America Mineral Development Network Platform. The overall objective of this project is the establishment of a network platform for continuous and structured cooperation on a mutual benefit basis between EU and Latin American authorities, industry, business (including SMEs), academia, geological surveys and other relevant entities for the non-energy extractive industries, in the fields of technology, consulting services, infrastructure, investment, trade, training and skills, health and safety, good governance and other relevant areas of the mining value chain (from exploration to mining, rehabilitation and post-closure). 

In this edition of our newsletter, we explore the relationship between the EU and Latin American more deeply as well as some of the projects taking place in partnering countries.

Luís Martins