Cooperation with Chile on mine disasters and climate change

Media release

Santiago, Chile

18 December 2010

Immediately after the collapse in the San José mine on 5 August, which trapped 33 miners underground for 67 days, Australian mining companies including BHP Billiton, Xstrata Copper and Reflex provided equipment, technical personnel and financial assistance for the rescue effort.

The governments of Australia and Chile today agreed to build on this experience by developing formal cooperation in responses to mine disasters and other emergencies.

Meeting with Chilean President Piñera, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said Australia has a very friendly relationship with Chile, and wants to further strengthen those ties with practical cooperation.

Our Governments signed a letter of intent today to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding for the exchange of scientific and technical information relating to Emergency Management Cooperation," Mr Rudd said.

In meetings with Chilean Ministers, Mr Rudd agreed that the existing Memorandum of Understanding on Mining Cooperation would be expanded to include mine rescue management and mine safety regulations.

Australia and Chile will also work more closely together to tackle climate change and protect the environment, following the signing today of the Australia-Chile Pacific Environment Declaration.

“Chile Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Alfredo Moreno Charme and I have signed a number of joint agreements to work together on marine environment protection with new commitments on renewable energy and climate,” Mr Rudd said.

"This includes a commitment to share research into the effects of climate change and the development of a low carbon economy."

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