Minera Las Bambas opens first of its kind IROC in Peru

Earlier this month, the Las Bambas copper mine, operated by MMG, initiated the pre-commissioning stage of its new integrated remote operations centre (IROC) in Lima, to remotely manage its mine operations located in Apurimac. This was a big step for the operation and for mining in Peru, as the facility is the first of its kind in the country. The facility has evolved from an initial Digital Operation Centre which began operations in 2021.

Las Bambas says the IROC encompasses the latest technology and digitalisation to remotely manage its mine operations. The cutting-edge centre integrates processes, technology and people to achieve more efficient production. The information from this innovative centre will enable Las Bambas to achieve operational excellence for a better decision-making and continuous collaboration. 

“In this era of digital transformation, we’re working towards reinforcing integration, trust, and collaboration between the site teams and the IROC team. We also consider Advanced Analytics to be the key for decision-making,” stated Luis Ticona, Las Bambas acting Operations General Manager. 

The IROC adds value to the business as more assertive decisions will be made based on the knowledge and analytics of the entire value chain. Thus, Las Bambas says it is helping to lead the way towards a more efficient and sustainable future for the mining industry, rooted in digital transformation. It includes remote control blasthole drilling with a fleet of Epiroc Pit Viper drills following a successful proof of concept phase.

The mining company told IM that the IROC was mainly developed in-house. The facility and layout was designed by its internal team, with construction works carried out by Binswanger Peru. Huawei was involved in the implementation of the data centre, and the control desks were assembled and manufactured in collaboration with optic fibre specialist YOFC. Technology aspects involved different collaborations, such as Motorola on radio, Komatsu-owned Modular Mining on the fleet management system (FMS) and DECCSA on the IT infrastructure. The mine itself has a 4G LTE network in place supplied by Nokia and Telefonica Peru.

Las Bambas produced 139,594 t of copper in the first half of 2023, which was 38,585 t (38%) higher than 2022 due to a shutdown of more than 50 days during the first half of 2022. Full-year production for 2023 is expected to be between 265,000 and 305,000 t of copper in copper concentrate, contingent upon continued access to site for supplies, personnel, and logistics. The Las Bambas team is working toward enduring agreements for the development of the Chalcobamba deposit with the Huancuire community and is hopeful that the development can commence by the end of 2023.

The Chalcobamba pit is located approximately 4 km northwest from the Las Bambas process plant. The operation will be developed by open pit mining with associated waste dumps. Ore will be transported by haul truck for approximately 13 km downhill to the existing crushing and conveying plant located near the Ferrobamba pit. The development of the Chalcobamba deposit is expected to underpin a production increase at Las Bambas to around 380,000 to 400,000 t of copper in concentrate per annum for the medium term.