Market Introduction Week In Santiago, Chile

Oppdatert: 7. okt.

In September 2022, the Norwegian Tunnelling Network (NTN) visited Santiago to meet authorities, stakeholders and the Chilean tunnel industry, to discuss projects, methods, technology and latest experiences from Norway and Chile. The activities was planned and carried out in cooperation with Innovation Norway and The Norwegian Embassy in this High Potensial Opportunity (HPO) program.

Illustration: Market Introduction Week In Santiago, Chile


Friday 23rd of September we met the Ministry of Public Works and discussed opportunities for cooperation, and identified projects and topics of interests. We also arranged meetings with the industry, to learn more about relevant projects in Chile.


Sunday 25th of September, the delegates spent the afternoon and evening discussing the week ahead together with the ambassador and the project team.


Monday 26th of September, The Norwegian Embassy opened the session by welcoming us to Santiago. From stakeholders and experts, the delegation learned about chilean economy, how to establish business, custom issues and accounting, economics and legal issues. Later the same day we discussed opportunities and challenges in the tunnelling market and how to succeed in a different culture.

Photo: Welcome by the Norwegian Ambassador

Tuesday 27th of September, we welcomed the tunnelling industry to a two-day tunnel seminar in Santiago, where we discussed methods, technology and latest experiences from Norway and Chile. A seminar dedicated to the tunnelling industry, including key industry stakeholders, public & private clients, science & research institutions, universities, engineering & design consultants, contractors and suppliers in the tunnelling industry.


The Norwegian Ambassador, Jostein Leiro, welcomed the participants to the seminar and emphasized the great opportunity that lays ahead in a cooperation between Chile and Norway, two nations with long traditions in underground works and a strong focus on sustainability and green technologies.


Arild Petter Sovik (Norwegian Tunnelling Network), CEO and project manager for the HPO project, introduced the HPO program and the Norwegian suppliers.


Mario Morales (SINTEF), an experienced PhD researcher and specialist on rock mechanics and tunneling engineering, introduced research based technologies for tunnelling, and later together with Emerald Geomodelling, presented development of the industry through cooperation on research.


The Chilean Chamber of Mining, presented the mining industry and future developments in Chile. Introducing the participants to opportunities and challenges ahead. An industry that is aiming to produce and develop the mining industry for an increased market demand.


Photo: Arild Petter Sovik, NTN (El Teniente crusher site)

Chile is the largest copper producer in the world with 28 percent of global copper production and is the world’s second-largest producer of lithium with a 22 percent share of world production. In 2020, the sector produced 5.73 million tons of copper and 70 thousand tons of Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE).

The mining sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP was 11 percent and represented over half of the country’s total exports, and remains a key sector of Chile’s economy. The Chilean Chamber of Mining and the mining industry is for us, an important partner in the market.

Photo: Arild Petter Sovik (Ola Kvammen presenting)

Ola Kvammen (Incitu AS), CEO and a project manager with experience from both Chile and Norway, presented excavation of tunnels with the Norwegian method. He also presented how to succeed with methods and technology and establish a cost-effective tunnelling production - a method based on technologies and trust between management and the individual worker.


Ingrid E. Fjelberg, a senior geologist with experience from large projects in both Norway and Sweden, presented a story about her way into the industry, and introduced the participants to the geologist way of working in Norwegian tunnel projects, in different phases and roles. Ingrid starts in a new position in October 2022, dealing with the largest tunnelling engineering project in Norway.


Anne-Lise Berggren (Geofrost AS), CEO and a senior specialist in geotechnics and artificial ground freezing, told us more about how to deal with challenging ground conditions and find the best suited alternative despite difficult ground conditions, and addressing concerns regarding environmental impacts during the construction phase.


André Araujo Silva (Emerald Geomodelling AS), a senior specialist in aeronautical technology and infrastructure development, told us more about how to reduce geological risks and use optimizing drillings plan, by using geo-scanning survey that penetrates hundreds of meters below the surface, combined with geotechnical drillings strategically located, based on the survey.


Thorvald Wetlesen (Bever Control AS), CEO and a senior specialist in automation, electronic and control engineering, gave an insight in the latest technologies in computerized tunneling and cloud based management of drill and blast operation. Introduced the participants to technology to improve efficiency and support an increased demand for documentation.


Henrik John Steffens (Cubility AS), an experienced business development engineer, presented new technologies to optimize separation of soil and water. With its unique combination of rotation, vacuum and vibration features, addresses current industry challenges, and its versatility makes it a natural choice for a variety of applications.


Frank Finseth (Devico AS), an experienced operation manager, gave us an introduction to directional core drilling and advantages of exploring the path of a planned tunnel alignment. With high accuracy survey tools and steering technology, drill-hole deviation is minimized by using state of the art technology.


Rolando Toloza (Ministry of Public Works), an experienced project manager from MOP, Introduced the Route 7 - challenges and opportunities. A road network, subject to new developments, situated in the south of Chile. An area with many similarities to Norway, fjords, mountains and harsh winter conditions, but with even more remote areas and longer distances.


Pablo Gandara (Codelco), Vice Presidency - manager for operations, presented future developments in Codelco and El Teniente. Codelco is currently the largest copper producing company in the world and produced 784 000 tons in 2022. Codelco owns the world's largest known copper reserves and resources. The El Teniente is reportedly "the world's biggest underground copper mine"and is the largest of Codelco's operations.

Tomas Lindstrom, an experienced tunnelling specialist, soil and rock engineer, presented the International Tunnelling Association (ITA) award winning project in Fjaerland. The construction of an underground hydropower plant in the west-coast of Norway.


Arild Petter Sovik (Sovik Consulting), CEO and a senior expert in tunnel management and operations, gave a presentation on experiences in Norway after several major tunnel fires, and the impact these fires had on priorities and development of new regulations and new technologies.


Pilar Santos Neves (Innovation Norway), project manager in Latin America, summarized the seminar and welcomed the industry to new activities in the future.


On Tuesday evening, the Norwegian Ambassador Jostein Leiro together with Innovation Norway invited authorities, stakeholders and actors in the industry to a reception at his residence, where we discussed tunnelling and future cooperation between Chile and Norway.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Norwegian ambassador, together with Innovation Norway and Norwegian Tunnelling Network opened our new office in Santiago.


The office will act as an address to connect with the industry in Chile. The first company to move in is Cubility AS. The implementation of an office is an important statement from the HPO project, telling the industry that we are here to stay.

On Thursday, we visited the development of Line 3 of Metro Santiago. Line 3 is one of seven lines that currently is in operation in Santiago. Line 3 connects the communes of Quilicura, Conchalí and Independencia in the north of Santiago with the city center and then with Ñuñoa and La Reina in the east. Its first stage was opened in January 2019, while its final stage will be in June 2023. The line 3 has 18 stations in 22 km of extension, which 3 new stations will be added in 2023.


On Friday 28th of September, we visited Codelco and the El Teniente. Here we where welcomed by the project management, and introduced to the world's biggest underground copper mine. We visited the production in the mine, and saw the production in the worlds largest underground crusher, an investment that ensure a cost effective production of copper in the El Teniente mine.

The mining production is among the most cost-effective productions in the world, and we are asked to cooperate to implement new technologies and a more cost-effective project implementation in future developments and contribute to the development of caverns, transport- and ventilation tunnels in Codelco projects.


Later the same day we visited the El Teniente control center, an impressive center of production, controlled remotely by a team of high qualified operators. Codelco aim to be an effective mining company using state of the art control center technologies together with autonomous/AI controlled vehicles and machinery operated and supervised from the control center.


We have received positive reactions from the Norwegian participants, but also great feedbacks from the tunnelling community in Chile. This thanks to an excellent planning from the project team including Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Embassy in Santiago. And we would like to give a special thanks to the Chilean Tunnelling Committee (CTES) and the help from Matias Egaña, but also for the contributions from the authorities, stakeholders and the tunnelling industry in Chile.


We are now ready for the next steps and are following up leads and market responses from Chile, and start to plan the next activities in the HPO project.


What is HPO?


High Potential Opportunities (HPO) is a new demand driven export program where Team Norway at large (public business support institutions, ministries, embassies, business clusters and business organizations) will assist Norwegian companies to win big international commercial contracts (market potential above 500 mill NOK). Together with Team Norway, Innovation Norway has a central role in finding, validating, executing and coordinating public support and assistance.

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