Orica officially opened its first ‘Centre of Innovation and Collaboration’ recently in Santiago, Chile. The centre has been created “to strengthen Orica’s partnerships throughout the mining industry, while ensuring it remains at the forefront of innovation to enhance the productivity and sustainability of its customers operations.”Orica Global Head, Mining Services Nick Bowen said: “This centre provides a platform to best understand industry needs, co-develop concepts and deliver innovations that are most beneficial to the mining industry. The Centre has been designed with a flexible layout that can be transformed to meet the requirements of each customer or stakeholder group. We also intend that this centre will connect our industry in Latin America with mining specialists and thought leaders around the globe.”Featuring state of the art design and technology, the centre will host Orica’s customers and a wide range of industry partners. It is co-located with the current Mining Services Latin America Head Office. Its daily changing activities will include technical forums, workshops, industry training, stakeholder briefings and hospitality. The centre will showcase recent innovations and provides a place for blasting specialists to collaboratively analyse data from Orica’s measurement systems which are installed on mine sites around the world. These include fragmentation and environmental monitoring systems.Speaking at the Melbourne Mining Club in Australia last week, Orica’s CEO and Managing Director Alberto Calderon spoke of the strategic importance of innovation and supplier/customer partnerships: “Orica is a global leader in the innovation of skills and technologies, but we need to bring customers along with us from the start of the process – not just when the products are defined or developed. Our innovations need to start with the question: What problems do our customers want us to solve? Focusing on the philosophy and objectives of the relationship is the only way to forge more mutually beneficial relationships.”The August 14 date of the official opening of the ‘Centre of Innovation and Collaboration’ was selected to coincide with the annual Miners Day celebration in Chile.