Industry Leaders

President BHP Billiton Pampa Norte, Chile, and Chair of Hydroprocess 2014 President BHP Billiton Pampa Norte, Chile, and Chair of Hydroprocess 2014

Luis Sánchez

"Hydrometallurgy has evolved to address new mining challenges"

August 19, 2014

The Chair of Hydroprocess 2014 says productivity is key to maintain a competitive position to the industry and to the country.

Which are the latest trends in hydrometallurgy?

Hydrometallurgy has been evolving to address new mining challenges, such as mining processes which is getting increasingly more complex. This goes hand in hand with steady progress in knowledge and research to optimize the use of resources like water, energy, and gas, and be able to take responsibility for the impact that these have in cost structure.

What do you think are the main lessons and challenges that should be considered in all hydrometallurgy plants in order to improve productivity?

I believe we are still in very early stages to be able to identify any lessons learned. Currently, new challenges are surfacing and we are sharing the way we face them.

Productivity is key to maintain a competitive position, first of all, to our country and secondly to our industry. Therefore, to me the issue of productivity is a lot wider.

As long as our projects are capable of minimizing consumption of key supplies- such as gas, sulphuric acid, energy and water-, we will be able improve our position.

Why are seminars like Hydroprocess important for the mining industry?

It is very important to identify key elements in our industry and gather different actors to discuss them. In that sense, it is necessary to generate a meeting point. These instances make it possible to call the industry, professionals who are operating in the field, those who supply different types of vital elements to perform the processing of those materials; and certainly the academic world, in order to be able to give a scientific view to the discussion. It is a common open point of endless shared dialogue, where it is possible to share experiences and at the same time challenges.