Chile’s national copper company, Codelco, one of the world’s largest copper producers, has awarded a $50 million contract to Rockwell Automation to supply a number of important systems for the Chuquicamata underground mine (Chuqui UG), a block-cave mine in Chile.

Rockwell Automation will collaborate in the transformation of the century-old, open-pit mine, one of the world’s largest, into a technologically advanced “super cave” mine, which is expected to extend the life of the mine by at least 40 years.

The contract includes a detailed engineering, supply, configuration and assembly of four systems that comprise the mine’s control system. This consists of an integrated operational platform, security system, supervision and control network, predictive maintenance and a general administrative network.

“Our work together will increase mine throughput and lower operating costs,” said Alejandro Capparelli, president, Rockwell Automation Latin America. “By leveraging Rockwell Automation’s integrated control and information systems, connected services and deep domain expertise, Codelco will extract more value at every stage of their mining operation.”

Rockwell Automation is currently working on the engineering and construction phase, in advance of a project startup by mid-2019. Annual production is projected to be 320,000 tons of fine copper and 15,000 tons of molybdenum.