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Codelco and BHP sign unprecedented innovation agreement for the development of sustainable mining

Two of the largest mining companies in the world join forces with the objective of exchanging information in areas of mutual interest, such as the electrification of mining activities, the supply of desalinated water, the stability and monitoring of tailings deposits, and the development of technologies for the decarbonisation of processes, among others.

For the first time in their history, BHP and the Chilean state-owned Codelco signed a collaboration agreement that will focus on the accumulated experience of both companies in innovation projects focused on strengthening the sustainability of its operations.

“Our copper is part of the solution to climate change that threatens the planet and must be produced in a sustainable manner, consistent with that cause. In order to imagine these new ways of doing mining, innovation is one of the main axes of our management, a focus that we can only develop in alliance with players who are equally active in this search, as is the case with BHP”, says Codelco's chief executive, Andre Sougarret.

Open innovation is one of the enablers of Codelco's current business strategy, which places significant value on the ability to convene external capabilities around the world. Suppliers, research centers, universities and companies with common challenges, such as BHP, are key players in complementing the knowledge and experience of the state mining company and creating sustainable solutions.

“The alliance with Codelco reflects our efforts to work collaboratively in the search for solutions to face one of the most urgent challenges in the world: stopping climate change. We cannot advance in decarbonization or contribute to the energy transition alone. For BHP, agreements such as this show how joint work between the public-private sector is essential to make mining an increasingly sustainable industry”, says Rag Udd, president of BHP Americas.

The agreement addresses the main current challenges of the mining industry shared by both companies, among them, the search for technologies that enable the economic exploitation of low-grade minerals, the operation in deep deposits and with complex metallurgical conditions, the design of tasks that use less or no water in their processes and that generate the least impact on the environment, and the effective exploitation of advanced technologies in terms of mineral exploration.

The document signed by Codelco and BHP establishes that the exchange of knowledge will have a term of five years and will be guided by a steering committee and implemented by working groups with professionals from the two companies.