SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Anglo American, one of the world’s top miners, says productivity could jump by as much as a third at its Chilean copper mines within three years as it rolls out new technologies, the head of the company’s copper division said in an interview.
Copper chief Hennie Faul said Anglo American was re-tooling its smaller, lower output El Soldado mine in central Chile this year for use as an experimental technology center, allowing it to conduct full-scale testing of new products and ideas in real-time.
“This is not just incremental. It can have increases in productivity of between 20 to 30 percent,” he said, adding the technologies were still in the testing stage and that their effectiveness would vary by deposit.
The project lends itself to potentially game-changing productivity improvements at Anglo American’s main copper interests in Chile: Los Bronces and Collahuasi. Both are among the world’s top-producing copper mines.
Miners across the world are scrambling to incorporate high tech fixes and efficiencies into their operations, from artificial intelligence to machine learning, to boost efficiency as their use of water, land and energy are increasingly scrutinized.