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Reprint of: Innovation, learning and competence building in the mining industry. The case of knowledge intensive mining suppliers (KIMS) in Chile

Lilia Stubrin

Resources Policy, 2018, vol. 58, issue C, 62-70

Abstract: This paper explores the opportunities for innovation and diversification that can be opened in association to mining activities in developing countries. In particular, the paper focuses on Knowledge Intensive Mining Suppliers (KIMS) in Chile. Using case study methodology, results show that Chilean KIMS firms entered dynamic segments of the Chilean copper value chain either by customizing products and services to local productive specific conditions or by utilizing new technologies as a platform to develop unique solutions to unresolved mining problems. In the former case, Chilean KIMS are small to large firms with a family origin which entered consolidated markets dominated by large international supplies, whereas in the latter one these suppliers are small young firms which were created as scientific or corporate spin-offs that opened new market niches. Linkages with leading mining firms that governed the mining value chain have been crucial for Chilean KIMS to learn about industry needs. However, there is no evidence that indicates that these linkages have been significant in helping local suppliers to construe their technological and innovative capabilities. Instead, Chilean KIMS innovated in isolation and only occasionally received technological assistance from extra-industry organizations. Experimentation in mine sites is the most important bottleneck for Chilean KIMS´ innovation strategy. Governments seeking to support the expansion of KIMS need a good understanding of these companies’ innovation trajectory, competitive environment, threats, risks and opportunities.

Keywords: Mining; Innovation; Mining suppliers; Chile; Natural resources; Copper (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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