Industry Leaders

Technical Coordinator Hrmining 2014. Technical Coordinator Hrmining 2014.

Cristián Gárate

“We should consider that Hrmining has generated social capital in the sector that we cannot afford to lose. This is where major initiatives in the sector have started.”

9 de abril

The technical coordinator of the 3rdInternational Seminar on Human Capital Management in Mining, Hrmining 2014, spoke with us about how the human factor impacts productivity in the sector and about the challenges of this meeting, to take place in November 2014.

Lately the mining industry has experienced a series of setbacks with regards to projects and investments, how has this impacted the demand for skilled labor?

Clearly the price and restrictions for developing mining projects have varied from 2010-2011 until today. Chile has such a weight in determining the global supply of copper that of course investment decisions in the country affect the price and vice versa.

Nowadays, while the portfolio of projects in the country has suffered a loss in its flagship projects, at the same time new projects have emerged. Moreover, investment peaks have been slowly moving towards 2020, a difference from what we thought a couple years ago, that we would face a peak mid-decade.

There is no doubt that the situation has alleviated the pressure for training technicians and professionals in Chile, but all the same shortages in both quantity and quality of professionals exist. The difference is that today the demand is more gradual when compared to two years ago, and the training market has reacted to the signs and incentives that the mining industry has generated through the Mining Skills Council. The current outlook is much more promising, but we must remain vigilant.

Each version of Hrmining has included a study of the mining workforce. Will this information be updated this year?

Yes, Fundación Chile is preparing a new version of the Workforce Study which started in 2011 for the Mining Council. It is very important to constantly be measuring the demand of the qualified workforce, given that the number of projects in the mining portfolio and those who are seeking work vary.

At the same time, keeping a constant eye on how the demand behaves allows the sector to make timely decisions and better focus the signs to the training market as well as the public policies associated with the training of technicians.

The mining industry all together took on the challenge of a shortage of specialized skilled workers, has this togetherness been maintained over time?

Of course, The Mining Skills Council is the core through which new standards and initiatives are channeled for the skills market, and it is an entity that will be sustained over time. Additionally, training qualified people for the mining industry is one of the defining principals of the sector, one that has a vision that extends well beyond the time when the demand reaches its peaks. Therefore, market reactions and worker training are processes that cannot be looked at from a short term perspective.

What are the challenges that were posed in the last version of the Hrmining seminar and what are the main themes for the 2014 version?

There is no doubt that the impact of the human factor on productivity in the sector is the main theme of Hrmining 2014. We should also consider that Hrmining has generated social capital in the sector that we cannot afford to lose. This is where major initiatives in the sector have started.

Lastly, it is worth noting that Hrmining has become a space for the mining sector to share best practices and is an instance for improving people management in our sector. This does not only apply to human resource specialists, but to all professionals involved in mining.