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Technological Change and the Environmental Imperative

Challenges to the Copper Industry

Edited by Claes Brundenius

Technological Change and the Environmental Imperative considers the extent of the success of polluting industries in becoming cost-efficient whilst acquiring less polluting technologies, in the face of fierce competition. The authors also discuss what has been the impact of privatisation on this process and what lessons have been learnt. Against this backdrop, and drawing on case material from Chile, China, Peru and Russia, the book goes on to assess the latest technological breakthroughs, and their possible future impact on cost efficiency and the environment.
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Chapter 2: Economic liberalization, innovation and technology transfer: opportunities for cleaner production in copper mining and

Alyson Warhurst and Gavin Bridge


processing Alyson Warhurst and Gavin Bridge INTRODUCTION The international mining industry is undergoing a transformation. Starting in the 1990s many leading mining companies have begun to restructure their operations in response to new opportunities arising from the liberalization of investment regimes for mining in many developing countries, to develop or acquire new production technologies, and to respond to heightened environmental awareness and scrutiny of their operations. This bundle of technological and organizational changes has the potential, if effectively managed, to contribute to economic growth and improved environmental performance in developing countries. Since 1985 over 90 countries have liberalized their investment regimes for mining in an effort to attract foreign investment (Otto 1997). Economic and political reforms have opened up new opportunities to the international mining industry in areas that were formerly closed because of de jure political restrictions, or closed de facto since economic and political risks were sufficiently high to deter prudent investment. In response to policies of economic liberalization, private capital flows to emerging markets have increased significantly. Between 1980 and 1998, for example, foreign direct investment in developing countries increased twelvefold (World Bank 1999). While the bulk of foreign direct investment continues to take place between the industrialized countries of the industrialized ‘Triad’ (Western Europe, Japan, the United States), the proportion of global foreign direct investment flowing to developing countries rose from 25 per cent in 1991 to 42 per cent in 1998 (World Bank 1999). Natural resources have rapidly declined in signi...

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