23 Mar Three Chilean startups will be piloting their technologies in important Peruvian mining companies
The proposals presented by the Chilean companies YoY, Lecasti and I-Acción were selected out of more than 245 innovative solutions to be piloted at the sites of the Buenaventura, Gold Fields and Nexa miners in Peru.
In six months, results should be obtained to evaluate the continuity of these companies in the later stages, which could be new stages of development or escalations, that could translate into a service or a technology provider relationship.
Everything came together within the framework of the first open innovation call that was developed by the Mining Innovation Hub of Peru, with the collaboration of the Alta Ley Corporation, which was held at the end of last year. In this contest, that considered the invitation to innovators from all over the world, 12 challenges were raised related to the problems faced by the three Peruvian mining companies members of the Innovation Hub: Buenaventura, Gold Fields and Nexa. From a total of 245 proposals that were received, the neighbour companies finally decided to carry out nine pilots, of which three were proposed by Chilean startups: Yoy, Lecasti and I-action. Today these three national companies are in the stage of establishing final agreements for the implementation of the pilots and accessing the financing that the mining companies make available for the implementation of initiatives.
“It’s important to consider that this portfolio of nine initiatives, where there are three Chileans, becomes a rich source of knowledge. In other words, if a pilot works, its chances to be applied in other HUB member companies are maximized, if the requirement is sensitive and has characteristics similar to other companies. And since they are common challenges, this possibility is quite high” says Walter Rosenthal, founder of Quintil Valley, a Chilean innovation agency, in charge of the design and operation of the Mining Innovation Hub of Peru, in this interview he talks more in detail about this process, its participants and the joint work between the Chilean and Peruvian industries.
Which are the Chilean companies that will be piloting in Peru?
“Yoy Simuladores”: This is a company from Valparaíso that has been in the market for five years. They have created a number of applications in the world of virtual and augmented reality and have accumulated quite a sophisticated background in the development of simulators for training large-scale operations workers. Together with the Nexa mining company, they will promote a pilot that allows dealing with risk situations at work and thus be able to increase security in the sector’s operations. The results of this pilot will be available to all Hub members and in this way all the companies that are piloting have the possibility of expanding their projections to the Peruvian market, exhibiting the results achieved with Hub’s partner companies.
Lecastic: This company will pilot with the Buenaventura mining company. They have developed a series of filters that are set from elements present in the tailings that are found in the same companies. From nanoparticle applications, these filters are able to retain certain elements that are in the effluents of the different stages of the processes.
I-action: This is a consulting company that has been working with the mining sector for years and that, in the field of innovation development, has created an artificial intelligence solution applied to the analysis of videos and images, which allows operational management in mining operations, mainly in those that are open pits. In this line, they will pilot a process with the Gold Fields company that will allow them to identify and relate, with data, how the stock of material removed from the mine, that awaits to be processed, is handled. All this has to do with the fact that this company is in an acceleration stage of its mining exploitation and needs to have the traceability of where each segment of the mineral has been moved and where it is accumulated in the stock.
What does this piloting process imply for Chilean companies?
This piloting process considers financing by mining companies, according to a budget that is being agreed with each of the solving companies. At least six months from now, significant results should be achieved to assess the continuity of subsequent stages, which could be new stages of development or stages of escalations in a stage of regime operation, which would translate into a relationship of service or technology provider and no longer a knowledge provider or a bounded innovation project. It is hoped that all these projects are capable of demonstrating the value they add to the different requirements and thus we can establish a long-term supplier relationship between both parties.
Do you think it is important that there is collaborative work between both countries in this area?
Yes, of course, there’s a lot of transfer of knowledge, experience and relationships that can occur. The requirements of the industry of both countries are very much aligned, despite the fact that many tasks are of different nature and with diverse characteristics, in general they are all behind adequate relationships with communities, links in adequate environmental matters, operations, energy management, safety for the workers. Therefore, everything that is advanced in Peru will also be interesting if it is available for the sector in Chile and vice versa.
Eliminate borders and speak as a large regional sector, is an issue that the nature of the industry raises and, above all, the times in which we are operating today, communication and also the internationalization of offers facilitates understanding and collaborative work. The development of the global industry partly depends on the collaboration that may exist between different countries, there is a closeness between Peru and Chile, a very intense link between the industries that should be used much more than it has been used until now.
How do you see the mining ecosystem in the region? What kind of collaboration do you see that can be generated between the different countries regarding the mining industry? What are the main challenges in the region in terms of copper mining?
The region’s mining ecosystem is becoming more sophisticated, we have smaller suppliers that are capable of generating highly innovative solutions that add value and that are willing to work with large companies such as mining companies. More and more mining companies are creating their platforms to bond with the surrounding ecosystem. Therefore, we are in a stage of unfolding collaboration, it’s only emerging, but chances are it will grow. Therefore, all of us who work in this line have an opportunity to make our contributions so that this collaboration and connection is effective and adds value.
On the other hand, the development of the ecosystem is also being more intense in the area of investment, there is an increasingly specialized structure for early stage risk investment and some of them have specialized in the mining sector, and that too is very powerful. Entrepreneurs require financing to be able to create, demonstrate, and validate their technologies. For this, one requires an industry that increasingly specializes and also has resources. One of the opportunities of collaborative work is the space it gives to be able to transfer knowledge and solutions which allow to economize in all areas of the process, mainly in energy issues, those that have to do with production, and that allows us to meet the constant updates in the law of exploitation throughout the continent that narrow the operating margins and, therefore, leaves us in constant search for solutions.
In addition, there is a great challenge for digitization in the industry, which is also a common ground between Chile and Peru. More and more mines are trying to manage their operations remotely, and there you also find knowledge that must be shared and that will allow for much faster implementations based on the experiences that have been generated in some mines that are ahead in these operations. On the other hand, in the field of security, the challenges are constant, permanent and this dimension is going to become increasingly more demanding, due to the different requirements that the industry poses. Finally, the issue that has to do with the environment and the relationship with communities is key. The industry takes responsibility of the relationship it has with the community, adding more and more innovative programs and solutions, based on diverse knowledge and the exchange of experiences.