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Sophisticated sensors, combined with detailed analytics is driving more informed decisions at BHP, Chief Technology Officer, Diane Jurgens has told a recent BAML SmartMine conference in London.

Ms Jurgens said with access to more detailed data on extracted material, machine algorithms can automate decisions to identify and divert waste, which increases plant performance and reduces processing costs.

“The low-cost Spence Recovery Optimisation project in Chile demonstrated how the technology can increase copper recoveries by about 10 per cent and help offset grade decline,” she said.

“At Escondida we are prototyping the use of real time data to analyse the quality and grade of ores and inform destination decisions, for example whether to divert unprocessed ore for leaching to concentrators or to waste.

“Meanwhile, at Olympic Dam, our patented leaching technologies have increased metal recoveries by 10 to 12 per cent and shortened the processing time by 50 per cent. This means lower costs, simpler processes, more flexibility and a reduction in water use.”

Ms Jurgens said to fully realise its ambitions across options in some of the world’s premier copper, oil and potash basins, BHP must constantly work on developing and maintaining industry-leading capabilities that will take the Company’s unique portfolio to the next level.

“Technology and innovation are among the most critical of those capabilities,” she said.

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