"The Chilean mining industry witnessed during the pandemic how technology could be used for mining activities: while mining operations stopped worldwide, this was not the case in Chile thanks to its resilience and adaptability."

Jorge Abraham

LOCAL DIVISION MANAGER, ABB CHILE

June 28, 2024

What milestones has ABB achieved in 2023?

In Chile, we moved to a new office in the Torre Costanera Center, the tallest tower in South America. Related to decarbonization, we sold the first ABB eMine™ Trolley system in Chile, which is expected to be operational in the second half of 2025. Although other technologies such as 100% battery-electric or hydrogen equipment are being explored, the available energy today is through eTrolley technology, where the vehicle is electrified through overhead cables like trains. 

What synergies will ABB unlock through the acquisitions of Sevensense Robotics and Meshmind?

ABB has been very strong in automation, but these acquisitions have strengthened our area of digitalization and AI. Additionally, we are developing batteries. Customers now want not only autonomous trucks but also trucks that run on batteries, and not just any batteries but special ones that can operate at high altitudes and under certain levels of demand.

How does ABB's eMine Trolley system contribute to more sustainable operations?

By changing energy sources with the eMine Trolley system, i.e., replacing diesel with electricity, we can introduce electric power into truck engines, automatically reducing fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The energy must come from renewable sources that do not pollute and are environmentally friendly.

When there is a positive gradient on the roads, comparing a diesel truck with a trolley, the 100% electric motor maintains its speed along the gradient, while the diesel does not. This allows for greater mineral processing in less time, contributing to the optimization of activities. If the gradient is negative, energy can be regenerated and sent back to the grid. Geographically, there is always savings due to the irregular nature of the terrain. The market requires green copper, so customers must invest in changing their energy matrix.

What is the role of data in mining operations?

High-quality sensors and instruments are necessary to perform efficient simulations in the production process and helps to make good decisions, thus helping to reduce costs, increase productivity, and improve safety. We must also ensure that the data is of good quality and accurately represented to the user.

With mathematical algorithms, it is possible to understand how a mine will behave. Additionally, everything is in the cloud and it is possible to work with different data from anywhere in the world. This also allows for autonomous operations, such as trucks that drive following an algorithm.

What implementation challenges will new technologies face in Chile?

The technological knowledge of operators is a fundamental pillar. It is crucial to prepare people from the beginning to adopt new technologies. For example, ABB, a leading technology company, offers all the tools for these operators to have a high level of performance and productivity. We have our ABB University, a prominent Training Center where courses are offered to both ABB workers and clients on our equipment, thus supporting operational excellence in each mining plant.

How will Industry 5.0 be applied to mining?

The focus is on people, not equipment. New technologies require new operators. They need technologies that are easy to use. We need to create solutions and technologies that attract new generations to take advantage of their talent and draw them to mining. One can have cutting-edge technology, but if we do not focus on its users, we cannot implement them.

This new "wave" is now called "Industry 5.0". However, in the Chilean mining context, the national industry witnessed during the pandemic how technology could be used for mining activities. During the pandemic, while mining operations stopped worldwide, this was not the case in Chile thanks to its resilience and adaptability.

How does ABB plan to increase inclusion?

We have been awarded for two consecutive years in Work-Life Balance. We want to continue improving and creating an inclusive environment that recognizes the different needs of professionals at various stages of their development in the company. ABB, with nearly 70 years in Chile, will continue to work on one of its fundamental pillars: people, focusing on promoting diversity and inclusion of everyone in the company, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, abilities, or any other dimension, to create safe, positive, and productive work environments.

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