BHP and Microsoft have teamed up to improve the performance of the concentrator at the Escondida operation in Chile using advanced digital technology. The companies hope to boost copper recovery at the world’s largest copper mine.
BHP Chief Technical Officer Laura Tyler said by augmenting digital technology capabilities with new ways of working, the team at Escondida is well-positioned to generate more value from an existing resource.
“We expect the next big wave in mining to come from the advanced use of digital technologies. 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,” she said.
By using real-time plant data from the concentrators in combination with AI-based recommendations from Microsoft’s Azure platform, the concentrator operators at Escondida will have the ability to adjust operational variables that affect ore processing and grade recovery.
BHP has operated Escondida, an open-cut mine located in the Atacama Desert in the Antofagasta Region of northern Chile, for over 30 years.