Innovation in the global mining sector and the case of Chile

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Recent research has highlighted the upsurge of innovation activity in the mining sector since the early 2000's. By following this research thread, this article contributes to the extant literature by: (i) discussing global innovation trends in the mining sector on the basis of R&D expenditure and patent families; and, (ii) modeling specific obstacles to innovate in the mining sector of Chile, a country with sizeable mineral rents/GDP (i.e., 9.4% average over 1970–2017). The main findings show that, despite the fact that Latin America & the Caribbean accounted for only 1% of worldwide mining patent families during 1970–2018, Chile has become more active in exploration and environmental innovation since 2011. On the other hand, a factor analysis performed on Chile 10th Survey of Innovation in Business (SIB) shows that mining and the remaining economic sectors differ as to how innovation barriers are perceived. Specifically, the mining sector sees cooperation, knowledge, financial, and regulatory obstacles of high importance as one single category, while the remaining sectors see a much weaker association between regulatory impediments and/lack of insufficient cooperation, knowledge and financial funds. A robustness check is conducted on the basis of previous versions of the SIB.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101690
JournalResources Policy
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Chile Survey of innovation in business
  • Obstacles to innovate
  • Patent families


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