Gold Fields is installing ABB’s Ability Genix Industrial Analytics and AI Suite to enable its Salares Norte project in Chile to drive efficient, sustainable and remote operations.

The gold and silver mine is located in the Atacama Desert, among the highest peaks of the Andes mountain range with elevations of between 4,200 m and 4,900 m. It is 1,300km from Santiago where the ABB Ability Genix suite is located in a remote monitoring center for the mine. With the technology, Gold Fields will gain data insights that will help them to increase industrial productivity and operational excellence, while reducing costs. Remote connectivity will help reduce the number of people needed at the actual mine location, thus improving safety.

“Salares Norte deploys a high level of digital industrial software and technology,” said Max Combes, project director for Gold Fields. “This is critical to this project due to its remote location – the nearest town being Diego de Almagro, 180km away, the altitude of the project and adverse weather conditions which make site access and fieldwork challenging. It demanded a solution for the remote monitoring center in Santiago that could integrate and contextualize information from many systems, including some common to Chile, as well as perform data analytics. ABB is already a proven digital partner and ABB Ability Genix will further unlock the power of data at this project.”

Starting with data capture and integrating cross-functional data, ABB Ability Genix connects operational, business and engineering systems. It then collects, contextualizes and converts data through advanced analytics into meaningful information to unlock productivity improvements by driving smart business decisions.

“Set to be fully commissioned in record time, Ability Genix will help Gold Fields better use their data from operations by combining it with engineering and information technology data for multi-dimensional decision making,” said Iván Villegas, Hub Product Marketing Manager Automation – South America, ABB.

ABB has already deployed the ABB Ability MineOptimize solution to supply an integrated power and automation system at Salares Norte comprising six electrical rooms and a suite of process and power controls, all under ABB Ability System 800xA distributed control system (DCS).

ABB’s project scope also includes a Dynamic Process Simulator, which reviews plant control logics, reducing commissioning times and allowing Gold Fields to train operators to acquire the skills required to achieve high-quality operations.

Salares Norte is expected to mine more than 2 million tons per year to produce 3.7 million ounces of gold over an initial mine life of 11 years.