Antamina applies Machine Learning to copper-zinc concentrator operations in Peru

As part of its constant innovation in its production processes, Peruvian copper-zinc miner Compania Minera Antamina (Teck 22.5%, BHP 33.75%, Glencore 33.75%, Mitsubishi 10%) has implemented the use of Machine Learning technology with which it seeks to increase the production of copper equivalent in the concentrator plant.

The statement said: “Advanced data analytics is increasingly positioned in the mining industry as an innovative technique for automating and optimising processes. This is how the importance of Machine Learning technology in the Peruvian mining sector lies in the fact that it finds patterns, trends and correlations when analysing operational information, modelling and generating optimisation recommendations in real time.”

Machine Learning is a technology of algorithmic models that learn from the history of the plant to recommend actions that optimise the expected future results. Since August of this year, Antamina has been working in its concentrator operations with this technology, developed by a multidisciplinary team that involves various teams and departments, such as the concentrator, mine, maintenance and information technology. Antamina states: “The implementation of Machine Learning technology is possible thanks to the interaction of thousands of variables; from lithological and mineralisation data in the mine, as well as data from SAG mill grinding, secondary grinding, classification, pebble crushing, copper-zinc differential flotation in rougher and cleaner stages in the plant; all with the aim of optimising the flotation and grinding processes with different types of ores.”

“We are the most important polymetallic mine to apply Machine Learning methodology in the world. Antamina started its operations in 2001, as a technological benchmark in mineral processing. After 20 years of successful performance, we are immersed in the implementation of Advanced Process Analytics, applying Machine Learning in a concentrator plant, as an initial part of larger implementation plans, being pioneers in the adoption of this technology in one of the most important polymetallic deposits and complexes worldwide. With this, we seek to consolidate ourselves as a benchmark in innovation and technology with high safety standards,” expressed Hernando Valdivia, Superintendent of Metallurgy and project coordinator.

The implementation is holistic – with proximity to the operation and plant equipment- and uses an agile methodology (based on the rapid delivery of project progress through iterative development with the end user of the solution) that will serve as a precedent for other processes that can use this technology. “Antamina continues to strengthen the work team with the incorporation of data engineers and data scientists who, added to metallurgists, process control engineers, Six-Sigma analysts and operational supervision, will find themselves immersed in the transformative process towards complete digitisation that will continue in the mine and later, in the most important processes of the company.”