Arriagada: In operational phrases, the group’s copper manufacturing for 2021 was 721,500 tonnes at a internet money price of $1.20/lb. These achievements translated into glorious monetary efficiency, underlining our repute as a dependable and accountable copper producer, with the operational and monetary energy and steadiness sheet to ship on our guarantees.
Looking forward to 2022, we’ve got guided copper manufacturing of 660-690,000 tonnes at a internet money price of $1.55/lb, which takes into consideration declining grades at Centinela Concentrates and the anticipated influence of drought this 12 months at Los Pelambres.
GBR: The Part 1 growth of Los Pelambres is because of be accomplished in 2022. What’s going to it imply for the corporate?
Arriagada: As mining progresses at Los Pelambres, ore hardness will enhance. The Part 1 growth is designed to compensate for this, growing plant throughput from the present capability of 175,000 tonnes of ore per day to a median of 190,000 tonnes of ore per day. Importantly, annual copper manufacturing will enhance by a median of 60,000 tonnes per 12 months over 15 years, beginning at roughly 40,000 tonnes per 12 months for the primary 4 to 5 years and rising to 70,000 tonnes for the remainder of the interval because the hardness of the ore will increase and the advantage of increased milling capability is totally realised.
As such, the growth shall be transformational, serving to us optimise throughput inside the limits of the prevailing working, environmental and water extraction permits, in addition to creating as much as 2,000 new jobs throughout development. We may also search to help native employment by prioritising native suppliers and, within the case of enormous suppliers from outdoors the areas the place we function, encouraging them to recruit regionally.
GBR: Are you able to present particulars of Antofagasta’s digital transformation roadmap, together with the autonomous programs implementation mission to function Minera Centinela’s Esperanza Sur Pit?
Arriagada: We have now made vital progress on our Roadmap for Innovation, which stays a key focus for the corporate. We’re putting in an integrated remote operations management centre for Centinela within the metropolis of Antofagasta which is able to remodel methods of working for our colleagues, by chopping journey time to and from the mine, in addition to encouraging entry into mining for extra folks, together with ladies and the in another way abled. We additionally consider the centre will promote safer working and a greater work-life steadiness which, in flip, can profit colleagues’ psychological well being.
We have now additionally developed a proprietary chloride leaching course of for main sulphides – Cuprochlor-T. This know-how will enable us, over time, to supply copper cathodes from low grade main sulphide minerals at lowered working and capital prices, and with a smaller water and carbon footprint.
GBR: How does the corporate intend to make the most of desalinated water by way of its INCO mission?
Arriagada: One of many clear impacts of local weather change is the 12-year drought in central Chile, together with within the Choapa Valley the place our Los Pelambres operation is positioned.
A number of years in the past, we took the choice to construct a seawater desalination plant for Los Pelambres and the primary stage of this mission, with an output of 400 litres per second, is because of begin operation within the second half of 2022. We’re planning to double its capability as quickly as the required allowing is obtained, and we anticipate the plant shall be working at its expanded capability in 2025. Desalinated and reused or recycled water will then account for greater than 90% of the mine’s complete manufacturing, liberating up some 500 l/s of water for surrounding communities. These efforts will assist us progress in direction of our company-wide goal for uncooked or desalinated seawater and reused or recycled water to provide 90% of the operational water use in any respect our mining operations by 2025.
GBR: Antofagasta intends to maneuver to 100% renewable energy. What steps have to be taken to make this a actuality?
Arriagada: A part of our local weather change commitments contains the transition to renewable energy and by the tip of 2022, all our electrical energy consumption shall be renewably generated. In July 2020, Zaldívar grew to become our first operation to make use of 100% renewable power, lowering our CO2 emissions by 67,614 tonnes on the time. In January 2022, Antucoya and Centinela additionally switched to 100% renewably-generated electrical energy and, later this 12 months, they are going to be adopted by Los Pelambres.
As a part of this course of, we’ve got been renegotiating our energy buy agreements (PPAs), switching them from typical sources – principally coal – to renewables. We’re additionally focusing extra on power efficiencies to cut back each greenhouse fuel emissions and working prices. For instance, Los Pelambres efficiently piloted “start-stop” programs in mining vans final 12 months to cut back diesel consumption when vans are stationary, and we’ve got launched autonomous mining vans at Centinela. Lastly, we joined the Chilean Hydrogen Affiliation final 12 months to discover using inexperienced hydrogen as a substitute gas to diesel in mining truck fleets.
GBR: How can Chile’s mining sector strike a steadiness between attracting enough funding for progress and creating extra native advantages for Chilean communities?
Arriagada: I consider the 2 come hand in hand – with better progress, together with that fuelled by investments, we will give again extra to our communities. In the intervening time in Chile, we’re experiencing change with a brand new authorities and the continued course of to write down a brand new structure. In each circumstances, we’re seeing an emphasis on a extra progressive social agenda and probably increased taxes for the mining business. I believe that mining, and enterprise extra broadly, can play a big half on this new social pact to create a steadiness that enables companies to proceed to develop and put money into the nation, which, in flip, permits them to return extra advantages to the communities.