Codelco flags automation drive

State-controlled Chilean copper miner Codelco plans to continue automation efforts at its mining operations in order to maintain production levels amid decreasing ore grades and coronavirus disruption.
Codelco flags automation drive Codelco flags automation drive Codelco flags automation drive Codelco flags automation drive Codelco flags automation drive

Operations at Codelco's Chuquicamata mine

Reuters reported chief executive Octavio Araneda as saying at a recent seminar in Samtiago that technological development is critical to ensuring the longer-term viability of mining.

The company's digitalisation drive has strained relations with mining unions in Chile which fear job losses in the sector.

The progress of Codelco's digitalization agenda has strained relations with the unions because of the potential for technological advances reducing the need for manual labour.

"We are committed to a programme of introducing autonomous trucks in the pits. That's a potent and challenging goal in terms of automation," Araneda said.

He added that Codelco was prepared for a second wave of COVID-19 infections, which had interrupted some of its operations.   

"It is very likely that increases in the number of infections will happen in the country and the regions where we operate."