BHP deploys Azure, AI and machine learning at world’s largest copper mine

BHP deploys Azure, AI and machine learning at world’s largest copper mine

Microsoft/BHP Group

Escondida in Chile

Real-time data will help increase copper recovery at the firm’s Escondida mine in Chile

Amber Hickman |

BHP Group will use Microsoft Azure, artificial intelligence and machine learning at the world’s largest copper mine, Escondida, in Chile. 

The operations team at the mine will leverage BHP’s newly deployed Azure Machine Learning operations platform and other Azure services including Azure Synapse Analytics and Azure Data Lake Storage to optimise the mine’s concentrator circuit, which is responsible for extracting, floating and collecting the copper mineral. 

BHP will use real-time data from Azure to make hourly predictions which are then used to create machine learning-assisted recommendations for the operations team. 

“We are excited to partner with BHP on this transformative project that demonstrates the power of AI, machine learning and cloud technologies,” said John Montgomery, corporate vice president of AI Platform at Microsoft. 

The partnership will help BHP meet a growing demand for copper as it predicts that the world will need to double tproduction over the next 30 years to keep pace with the development of electric vehicles, offshore wind and solar farms. 

“As grade declines at existing mines and fewer new copper deposit discoveries are made, next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics will be used to unlock more production and value from our existing mines,” said Laura Tyler, chief technical officer at BHP. 

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