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Roadmap, Technological Innovation for Mining: the keys for mining to get on the industry’s 4.0 wagon

The process of preparing the Roadmap was carried out between December 2019 and January 2020, through three workshops that brought together more than 100 representatives of the mining industry, which aimed to collect key information to co-design a shared vision.

In the roadmap, three driving nuclei were defined: integrated and intelligent mining, green mining and safe mining, in addition to four enabling nuclei: digitization; cybersecurity; human capital development; and social license to innovate.

New technologies, digitization, digital transformation, cybersecurity, are concepts that have taken over the world’s agenda in practically all areas. And mining is no exception. For this reason and in order to continue developing in this new global scenario, it is key to get on the wagon of this 4.0 industry.

With this objective, it is that, at the end of 2019, the Mining Council, Fundación Chile and the Alta Ley Corporation, summoned different actors of the national mining ecosystem to participate in the creation of the Roadmap: Technological Innovation for Mining 4.0, a document that seeks to guide and identify those areas where Industry 4.0 technologies can add more value to the mining business in the next 15 years. All this from a common vision of the industry regarding how to approach the change that involves moving towards the incorporation of these new technologies.

The development of this Roadmap, which also has the technical expertise of the Interop Program team, also seeks to enable a portfolio of projects and activities for the short, medium and long term that points to the development of industry 4.0 in mining, to the interoperability of information systems and the digitization of the industry. “This Roadmap will also serve as a tool that will guide technological decisions in R&D, reducing the risk of technology investments, helping the industry to take control over market opportunities, and lowering entry barriers to facilitate entry to local suppliers”, explains Juan Jara, director of Interop, who in this interview tells us more details about this initiative.

Why is the generation of a digital roadmap for mining so important?
Although each operation must define its own technology incorporation strategy, there are multiple all around subjects where collaboration between the industries enables the process of technological implementation and value capture to be accelerated. As an example, generating a shared vision from the industry allows identifying how and where the sophistication of jobs will increase and defining a strategy for job retraining and development of new talents ad hoc to the reality of the industry. On the other hand, the collective creation process of the road map allows identifying issues that are not evident. In the case of this Roadmap, a nucleus of Social License to Innovate was established, which is oriented to address challenges in regulatory and labor issues.

What were the stages in the construction of this Roadmap, what did they consist of and who participated?
The process was convened by the Mining Council, Fundación Chile and Alta Ley Corporation with an excellent response from the mining companies. This led to the establishment of a governance composed of Anglo American, Antofagasta Minerals, BHP, Codelco, Collahuasi, Freeport McMoRan and KGHM. The role of governance was to define the vision of the Roadmap and to validate the results of the workshops. The process was carried out between December 2019 and January 2020, where three workshops were held that brought together more than 100 representatives of the mining industry, including suppliers and universities. These aimed to collect key information from the different participating actors to co-design a shared vision, identifying areas of action, challenges and solutions with an emphasis on the implementation of 4.0 technologies, in addition to their prioritization and interconnection.

What are the main challenges this Roadmap addresses?
During the construction of the roadmap, three driving nuclei were defined: integrated and intelligent mining, green mining and safe mining, in addition to four enabling nuclei: digitization; cybersecurity; human capital development; and social license to innovate, which represent the backbone of the Roadmap with a view to projecting a more sustainable industry through the incorporation of 4.0 technologies.

What is the contribution of this Roadmap to Mining?
As a navigation chart, it will show us where to focus the efforts of developing and implementing new solutions based on 4.0 technologies that transform the industry, changing operating paradigms that are deeply rooted to this day, and improving business productivity in a predictable way, no variations in the results due to the lack of control of the same. In addition, this exercise will establish a heat map of the areas where the incorporation of 4.0 technologies can generate greater value capture, allowing the industry to work in a more coordinated way to accelerate the process of technological adoption, also contributing to reduce these uncertainties and encourage the rate of investment.

In terms of Human Capital, the Roadmap will be a relevant input in terms of training, the search for new talents, and the generation of management models that allow for highly efficient teams focused on adding value to the process and not executing repetitive tasks thanks to digital skills.