Performance of Underground Mines in Chile

Performance of Underground Mines in Chile

The mining sector is a key element in the Chilean economy with most of the mining activities grouped in the north of the country and it accounts for 12% of Chile’s GDP. The top minerals found in the country are Copper, Gold, Silver, Molybdenum, and Iron. Chile leads the world’s production of copper and is among the top five producers of molybdenum and silver.  

In the last years, the mining industry worldwide has been turning towards underground mining, and Chile could not be the exception. The increase in technological advances that the world has been experiencing, as well as the increasing awareness of the environmental impact, have become two key factors in the return to underground mining. Despite open pit mining remains the most popular mining method for Cu or epithermal deposits, the trend towards sustainability is pointing to the underground methods for ground footprint reduction. 

Mines such as El Teniente, the world’s largest underground mine, owned by the state National Copper Corporation of Chile (CODELCO) have been investing in the expansion of the underground tunnels to expand the mine’s life for more than 50 years. Other mines such as the Chuquicamata, Chile’s largest open-pit copper mine, transitioned from open-pit mining to underground mining (Jamasmie, 2012).  This transition is expected to reduce 97% of suspended particulate matter originated from open-pit operations, thereby minimizing environmental demands (Michaud, n.d.) 

Without a doubt, Chile is facing a great challenge on the road to underground mining, because it is not only a matter of considering the new technical requirements that this new stage implies, but also it is essential to carry out geological studies, cost analysis, automation of tasks and preparation of the appropriate staff for the development of the operations. Therefore, it is important to highlight the crucial role those new technologies play in the evolution of mining operations, as profitability is not the only concern, but it is also important to think about sustainable operations that will drive the future of mining in Chile. 

 

 References:

Jarroud, M. (2013). Mining in Chile Going Back Underground. Inter Press Service. Retrieved 22 June 2021, from http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/08/mining-in-chile-going-back-underground/. 

Jamasmie, C. (2012). Chile’s largest open pit copper mine goes underground. MINING.COM. Retrieved 23 June 2021, from https://www.mining.com/chiles-largest-open-pit-copper-mine-starts-conversion-to-underground/. 

Michaud, D. Why are Chile and the world going back to underground mining?. Mineral Processing & Metallurgy. Retrieved 24 June 2021, from https://www.911metallurgist.com/blog/why-are-chile-and-the-world-going-back-to-underground-mining. 

Mining in Chile. Comisión Chilena del Cobre. Retrieved 24 June 2021, from https://www.cochilco.cl/SIAC/Paginas/English/Mining-in-Chile.aspx. 

Episode 5 | Mining Ventures in Chile

Episode 5 | Mining Ventures in Chile

The Mining Experience is a live podcast that invites professionals from the mining industry to discuss new technologies, address challenges, and share work experiences. 

We have the honor to host two special guests: 

Prof. Jacopo Seccatore, Ph.D. 

Civil engineer from the Polytechnic of Torino, Italy (2008), holds a Master of Science from the same Polytechnic in Geoengineering (2010) and a PhD in Mineral Engineering from the University of São Paulo, Brazil (2014). Currently Professor of Mining Engineering at Adolfo Ibañez University in Chile. Founder, former coordinator and current scientific counselor of the Experimental Mine Project of the University of São Paulo. He has specific experience in Explosives Engineering for Mining and Civil applications, tunneling and underground spaces, Open Pit and Underground Mining.  

Episode 4 | Mining Ventures in Mexico | The Mining Experience

The Mining Experience is a live podcast that invites professionals from the mining industry to discuss new technologies, address challenges, and share work experiences.

 

Canadian mining companies play a huge role in the exploration phase in Mexico, which contributes to the overall economy. In this episode, experts discuss the different factors that affect mining investment and their implications in the mining industry in Mexico.

We have the honor to host a special guest:

Jesús Castro Mora; Geologist Engineer from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) with over 30 years of experience in exploration (mapping), evaluation, and prospecting of mineral deposits all over Mexico. To date, he completed postgraduate studies from the Geophysics Institute of the UNAM, research thesis in process related with the linkage between porphyry and epithermal systems and is officially PhD Candidate.

Chilean Copper Market

Chilean Copper Market

Among the 3 top countries mining copper, Chile stands as the biggest producer worldwide. With millions of tonnes mined annually, the South American country hosts approximately 200 million tonnes of copper. Some of the largest copper mines in Chile are Escondida, Collahausi, and El Teniente projects. The Escondida mine, located in Northern Chile, is operated by Codelco, which is the world’s largest copper mining company. 

The graph below shows how quickly copper prices increased during 2020-2021. It is clear that the Chilean Mining Market made a huge contribution to this increase, having a market share of 28%. While Chile supplies the copper demand worldwide, it contributes to approximately 10 percent of its own GDP and represents half of the country’s export. 

Photo taken from Nasdaq 

https://www.nasdaq.com/market-activity/commodities/hg%3Acmx 

 

As the mining industry keeps on becoming more popular in Chile, it is perhaps a good time to step back and set new goals for the future. With the new regulation setting a tax system, more factors should be taken into consideration, such as sustainability measures, community relations, social responsibility, clean technology, etc. Taking these measures will ensure a strong foundation to drive the mining sector in Chile in the right direction. Having a set of regulations should in fact take into account what could happen in the future, to ensure sustainable growth with correct measures. 

Mining in Chile is therefore crucial to its economy and an important part of its culture. In the major mining area, importance is accorded to resource quality, reserve base, and deposit location, the north being a popular region. A legal framework ensuring stability and security is also an important factor for many mining projects. 

It is therefore important to use the appropriate technology that will enable Chile to conduct a sustainable framework to continue pursuing its ever-lasting tradition. Particularly, using software capable of keeping up with the fast-paced industry is of utmost importance to ensure well-organized growth. A software that is capable of handling day-to-day operations while covering all essential steps in a mining project can be extremely useful in this case, allowing mining professionals to stay up to date on daily tasks and to be more efficient in their project planning. 

 

References: 

 

  1. (n.d.). Chile – Mining. Retrieved from https://www.trade.gov/knowledge-product/chile-mining-and-minerals
  2. Chile calls for debate on how to best tap the boom. (2021, June 08). Retrieved from https://www.mining.com/web/chile-calls-for-debate-on-how-to-best-tap-the-boom/
  3. HG:CMX. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nasdaq.com/market-activity/commodities/hg:cmx
  4. Mining in Chile. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cochilco.cl/SIAC/Paginas/English/Mining-in-Chile.aspx
  5. Top five copper mining countries in the world by 2020 production. (2021, May 20). Retrieved from https://www.nsenergybusiness.com/news/top-five-copper-mining-countries/ 
Inserting Reports and Scheduling Mine Planning Tasks | Tip Of The Month

Inserting Reports and Scheduling Mine Planning Tasks | Tip Of The Month

Given the large amount of information needed to process at a mine, mine planning tasks can become overwhelming and can too complex through time. With Promine you can easily create developments that include costs for materials and resources, while also estimating dates and advance rates with precision. 

Its easy-to-use interface and tools ensure that you will only be investing time in the activities that matter the most and will be relevant for future planning. Just as any other module inside Promine, it can easily be configured to each users requirements.