The paper investigates new opportunities for innovation and linkages associated to mining activities in Brazil, Chile and Peru. Three types of opportunities were researched: demand side, supply side and local specificities. The last source of opportunities is key for natural resource related activities. The evidence shows that an increasing demand is introducing important incentives for innovation and local suppliers. Nevertheless, a hierarchical value chain, dominated by few large firms, and poor linkages is blocking the diffusion of innovations and hindering suppliers’ development. The emergence of a group of highly innovative suppliers, which were identified in the three countries, is explained mostly by new technological and knowledge opportunities, which are not exploited by large incumbents and open spaces for new entrants. Local specificities are also key in the explanation of local suppliers. It remains a challenge however, how these, most of which were created to satisfy local needs, will move from local to global.