BHP taps Microsoft, AI to improve copper recovery from mine

BHP Group has selected Microsoft to improve copper recovery from its Escondida mine in Chile, the world’s biggest copper mine, by using machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Microsoft storesBHP estimates the world needs to double the amount of copper produced over the next 30 years to keep pace with the development of decarbonisation technology such as electric vehicles, offshore wind and solar farms.

“We expect the next big wave in mining to come from the advanced use of digital technologies,” BHP Chief Technical Officer Laura Tyler said in news statement.

“This transformative project demonstrates the power of AI, machine learning and cloud technologies,” said John Montgomery, CVP, AI Platform at Microsoft.

BHP expects plant operators will have the ability to adjust variables that affect ore processing and grade recovery by using real-time data from plants that process ore in combination with AI-based recommendations from Microsoft’s Azure platform

BHP, the world’s biggest miner, is the majority owner of Escondida and operates the mine with partners Rio Tinto, and Japan’s JECO Corp. Escondida produced more than 1 million tons of copper during the last financial year ending in June.