BHP and Microsoft collaborate on AI in copper extraction – by Ashima Sharma (Mining Technology – May 30, 2023)

BHP Group estimates the world needs to double the copper supply in the next 30 years to keep pace with green technologies.

The BHP Group and Microsoft have collaborated to improve copper recovery from the Escondida mine in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

Producing more than one million tonnes of copper in 2022, Escondida is the world’s biggest copper mine and will use using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve operations. Microsoft’s Azure platform will optimise concentrator performance and retrieve better ore grades. The mine is jointly owned by BHP, Rio Tinto and Japan’s JECO.

BHP’s chief technical officer Laura Tyler said: “As grades decline at existing copper mines and fewer new economic discoveries are made, next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics will need to be used to unlock more production and value from our existing mines.”

BHP will use AI to further offset operational variables that affect the ore processing and extraction. As a result of green technology development, the company estimates the world needs to double the amount of copper produced in the next 30 years, compared to the past 30.

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