Anglo American has announced that the Integrated Operations Centre (CIO) at its in-development Quellaveco copper project in Peru is now ready to start operating the concentrator plant.
From there, all the processes of the mine will be controlled, with predictive intelligence applied to improve safety and productivity.
Earlier this month, Anglo American unloaded the first ore to the primary crusher at Quellaveco, marking a crucial milestone in commissioning tests prior to the start of operations.
Thanks to this milestone at the CIO and the successful introduced of first ore to the primary crusher, Quellaveco is now able to move onto the wet commissioning phase.
Cinthya Lozano Ganvine, CIO Superintendent, said: “To get here, we previously took the digital mine concept to an engineering design, and then we went on to planning and execution, with the support of experts. We have implemented platforms with virtual and physical servers, capable of processing and storing information for data science and advanced control, as well as a robust infrastructure for networks and high availability of the systems that control the processes in each part of the project.”
Just two weeks ago, the first truckload of ore was unloaded at the primary crusher. Once deemed successful, the testing then moved onto the conveyor belt and the ore stockpile and, a week later, commissioning tests of the SAG mills and ball mills began. All these processes are controlled from the CIO, activating, stabilising, or recalibrating the operation of the equipment, according to production objectives.
In addition, the huge amounts of data that will arrive from the sensors installed throughout the production chain will be processed at the CIO. With this data, predictive intelligence will be applied to anticipate any potentially problematic events. This technology allows operators to model likely scenarios and make adjustments to improve mine safety and productivity.
Quellaveco smart sensors can record data according to the needs of each area, according to Anglo. There are sensors for temperature, vibration, flow, humidity, pressure and oil quality. There are even sensors that measure earthquakes, among other events. With the data they generate, decision making is improved.
“But in addition to cutting-edge technology, the human component is crucial at Quellaveco,” the company said.
At the CIO, approximately 80 people will be controlling and monitoring the entire production chain 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These professionals receive constant training on data analysis to gain in-depth knowledge of the systems of each of the processes.
Close to 30% of the CIO team is made up of women, a figure that is well above the national average for female participation in the mining sector, Anglo says.
Quellaveco is in the Moquegua region and, at full capacity, will process 127,500 t/d of material. It will, Anglo American says, be the first 100% digital mine in the country, introducing new technology and processes to the national mining industry, such as autonomous mine haulage, that will improve performance in safety, production and sustainability.