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SQM and leading transport companies bring largest electric fleet to Chilean mining industry

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Global Mining Review,

The largest electric fleet in the Chilean mining industry has been unveiled in Antofagasta by SQM, in partnership with leading transport companies Viggo GrandLeasing, Transportes CVU and Andes Motor, as part of their sustainability plans to reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Consisting of 34 fully electric vehicles, the fleet includes passenger buses, minibuses, vans, mobile solar checkpoints, and Chile’s first high-tonnage electric truck, making it the most diverse electric fleet in use across an entire mining operation in Chile.

With the launch of the new fleet, SQM is on track to achieve carbon neutrality in all its products by 2040. This follows on from the company’s announcement at the end of 2021 that it was joining the UN’s Race to Zero programme. SQM had already introduced Chile’s first high-tonnage electric truck to be used in large-scale mining onto an 86 km route from the company’s Coya Sur plant in María Elena to the port of Tocopilla, saving approximately 3840 tpy of CO2.

The vehicles were presented on the esplanade of the Huanchaca Ruins in Antofagasta, at an event that was attended by various regional and community leaders, as well as executives and representatives from SQM and its partners. The introduction of the electric vehicles in Northern Chile is especially significant as it supports efforts at a national level to decentralise electric mobility in Chile.

José Miguel Berguño, Vice President of Corporate Services at SQM, said: “As a company, we are proud to launch this fleet, contributing to the development of national electromobility and promoting the use of electric vehicles in the north of Chile, covering the regions of Antofagasta and Tarapacá, focusing on operational areas of our sites and on the transfer of all workers of SQM who live throughout the national territory. It is one more step in our robust sustainability plan that reaffirms our commitment to the environment, the communities surrounding our operations, and the environment.”

With this milestone, the company continues to take important steps in this area, highlighting its participation in the national public-private agreement for electromobility, and obtaining the Clean Turn Seal, becoming the first mining company to obtain this certification.

Regarding this initiative, the Regional Governor, Ricardo Díaz, stated: “There has to be a balance. Virtue is in the middle. Virtue is not in the extremes, but to balance the respect for the environment, the respect for the communities, but to balance it with the action of the industry that gives meaning to this region. We are a mining region, that is why we must be able to travel on this virtuous path.”

The Presidential Delegate from Antofagasta, Karen Behrens, highlighted: “We appreciate SQM's invitation. As a government, without a doubt, we want to continue materialising this type of initiatives in our region that contribute to the transformation of mining into a more sustainable, more responsible and more harmonious mining with the environment. We want to position mining in Chile as an example to contribute to the fight against the climate crisis.”

“Prospering in electromobility is key to achieving our goals towards carbon neutrality. Changing the country is everyone's task, and with actions such as the one promoted today by SQM, we will show that we are walking the same path, contributing to a better Chile,” the delegate added.

SQM is committed to high social and environmental performance and is the second lithium mining company that started an independent third-party audit against the IRMA Standard. With this, the company explicitly commits to effective climate protection, to the Paris climate targets and to further future measures that contribute to achieving the 1.5° target.

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Lithium mining news Mining equipment news South American mining news