More copper, less time and damage – innovations in Chile´s mining sector

SANTIAGO – State-owned mining giant CODELCO’s technological arm “CODELCO Tech” has proposed a program to fasten the copper extraction process and other mineral resources. A significant reduction of environmental damage mining causes is another aspect put forward by the enterprise.

The new program is created to develop solutions for faster extraction of minerals and recycling processes to help the environment. Specifically, a new product dubbed “Focal Load” has recently been introduced. It is used in the secondary blasting to reduce clearance time, solve chutes and convey obstructions, and to process large amounts of mineral fast and efficiently.   

In addition, CODELCO has announced it is working with proficient local entrepreneurs to reuse metals and search for new uses of copper through the program named “Recupera.” It’s principal objective is to create innovative projects which contribute to minimize environmental damage by recycling the industrial mining waste. During an interview in the  World Congress for Mining Expomin the general manager of the Mining Division Mario Marchese said: “We are reinventing the mining industry in order to make it more sustainable so the operations can be achieved with minimum environmental impact, and that is what we want to show at Expomin. We have a lot to do, but this is our new objective.”

Likewise, CODELCO’s director of metallurgy and biotechnology Patricio Martinez told Reporteminero:  “We have to consider the tailing basin management as assets.” Manager of the company MVC metallurgy Luis Silva added: “We are pioneers in terms of investigation, nowadays we are turning tails into a commercial product. For example, if we extract 0,1% of tails so we have to reach  30% of copper, and we are making it.”

CODELCO Tech suggests that copper can be used even in farming, in which new slaughtering lines can be made from copper to reduce bacterial growth in the final product. The metal could also be used to produce counters, rails, hospital materials, and airports, among others.

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