"Anglo American’s agreement with ENGIE Energía Peru sends a message to the mining industry and to Peru that renewable energy is feasible, and we are very proud to be the first mine in the country that powers its entire operation via renewables."
Can you tell us about Anglo American’s agreement with ENGIE Energía Peru to provide renewable energy to Quellaveco via the Punta Lomitas wind farm?
We sat down with ENGIE Energía Peru just before Covid to start talking about what opportunities we have for green energy, and the deal was put together in the span of less than a year. This sends a message to the mining industry and to Peru that renewable energy is feasible, and we are very proud to be the first mine in the country that powers its entire operation via renewables. Quellaveco will require approximately 187 megawatts, and even on a global level there are very few mines of this scale that source 100% of their energy from renewable sources. We are very glad to support additional investment in Peru and the agreement we have with Engie will provide more jobs to the people of Peru.
How do the Caterpillar 794 AC autonomous mining trucks using Command for Hauling at Quellaveco compare to traditional vehicles?
At the moment we are going through a learning curve to see how we can get the best out of the trucks. For example, when the shovel operator fills up a manual truck, if he overflows the load it does not matter, but with an autonomous truck it does matter, because if you drop a rock in the way of an autonomous truck it will not operate as it will detect a hazard. However, we expect a significant productivity improvement in the coming months and years, especially when all the trucks become autonomous. Right now we have about a 50/50 split between automous and manual, but as we open larger areas up with pre-stripping and move towards the operational phase we will introduce more autonomous vehicles. As a result, we expect between a 10% to 30% improvement in productivity compared to a traditional fleet.
At Quellaveco we also made a commitment to the community, that even though we are using automous trucks we will still hire the same amout of people as we would in a manual operation, but some of the jobs will be different than before and we will train the people to be able to work in an digital mine.
Can you elaborate on how Anglo American is incorporating technology and sustainability into its operations via the FutureSmart Mining programme?
Anglo’s vision is reimagining mining to change people’s lives, and technology is at the forefront of that. At Quellaveco we want to be able to help Moquegua and Moqueguans understand what the future of the mine looks like and where jobs will come from. When considering the digital mine, it is all about operating more efficiently, safely and effectively, making sure that we use the resources we are given in the best way possible. This involves using the minimum amount of water and energy for maximum output.
What are some of Anglo American’s initiatives to increase the participation of women at its operations?
Across the company this has been a big focus for Quellaveco, and we are at about 25% participation of women at Quellaveco. It is important to create an inclusive environment where all workers feel comfortable. One of our key female employees had a baby a year ago, and as we were getting back into the swing of the operation after lockdown, the team that she works with did a site visit but she did not go as it was important to her to spend more time with her growing child. In the past, female employees at mine sites may have felt pressured to attend in-person activities regardless of their circumstances, but this is changing and this employee now felt safe to tell her boss she wasn’t ready to make this trip and her leader understood. Leadership matters, and from the top down we want to be seen as a good place to work to attract the best Peruvian talent.
What message would you give to the newly elected president, and the wider Peruvian community, about the importance of fostering a collaborative mining climate in the country?
Since I have been here I have seen the tremendous opportunities that Peru’s mining sector presents, and I think this should be emphasized more than it is. As an industry we need to sit down with government and figure out how we are going to capture this opportunity to benefit the Peruvian people. If we are not careful, and too many restrictions are introduced, future investment is going to dry up or go somewhere else. All stakeholders should have a fair share, make a fair profit, and have access to development. I think we have done a good job of this at Quellaveco, and this is a good example of how we need to do things moving forward.