Industry Leaders

Vicepresident of Operations Centro Sur, Codelco, Chile Vicepresident of Operations Centro Sur, Codelco, Chile

Octavio Araneda

“Our country is at the forefront in implementing best practices and new technologies for mineral exploitation and processing, particularly in mine planning.”

The Chair of Mineplanning 2013, Octavio Araneda, assures that mine planning is an essential tool in any project and that our country has a lot to say about it.

How important is mine planning when first generating a project? 

Mine planning is key for decision making and achieving strategic results within a company. It also serves to define the reserves to be extracted, determine the sequence of operation, and establish production schedules and the required infrastructure. Mine planning is therefore one of the key activities for the definition of the scope, planning, programming, budgeting and economic evaluation of projects. 

In most respects, our country is at the forefront in implementing best practices and new technologies for mineral exploitation and processing, particularly in mine planning. In addition to development within companies, numerous academic and research initiatives in higher education institutions have been established in the country.

What are the main parameters to evaluate in mine planning? 

Amongst the priorities we can highlight market conditions and their impact on the price levels of main products and byproducts; infrastructure requirements and investment levels; cost levels of processes and unit operations; product input relations and the efficiency of processes reflected in metal recovery. 

Considering the uncertainties and multiple geological, mining and metallurgical factors influencing planning and outcomes, it is necessary to have an adequate geo/ mining/metallurgical base and to analyse the variables together through the collaborative and effective participation of all relevant specialists involved.

Do you think the industry has taken steps that will allow it to be competitive in the long term?

In this day and age, it is not enough to simply be competitive. What one really needs it to maintain their position in the long-run given the uncertainties and risks involved throughout the entire process of ore exploitation. As a result, one of the main concerns of the industry is to promote initiatives aimed in that direction; most notably strengthening the long-term strategic planning and supporting initiatives such as seminars like Mineplanning that allow professionals from the area to come together. Instances such as these facilitate critical reflection and continuous improvement of the criteria, procedures, methodologies and tools for planning and operation. 

What can we anticipate that is new in Mineplanning 2013?

This version of the seminar is being coorganised by the University of Alberta, Canada, which has a Mining Engineering Department and an important Mine Optimisation Laboratory that is focused on topics such as planning and mine system optimisation.  Additionally, Susan Knoerr, Vicepresident of of Planning and Development at Cía. Minera Antamina Peru, is a member of the organising committee this year. 

We hope that with Susan’s participation, professionals from Peru and other parts of Latin America will have incentive to participate. We have also incorporated amongst the areas of interest the topic of transition from open pit mining to underground mining, a situation that will be faced in the medium term in a number of current surface operations, as is already the case at the Chuquicamata mine.