"We are very proud to be the first mine in Peru that powers its entire operation via renewables."
What is the status of the Quellaveco development, and when do you expect production to start?
Covid has created a lot of challenges, particularly from a logistics standpoint, but our team and contractors have handled it as well as possible. For instance, we do approximately 500 random Covid tests per week, in addition around 3,500 to 4,000 pre-boarding PCR tests per week. From an overall construction standpoint, Quellaveco is now over 50% construction complete (as of May 2021). On the operational side, we have had four autonomous trucks running for over two months now, with one shovel up and running and a second shovel set to be commissioned in July.
We expect Quellaveco be fully operational in 2022. The exact date is Covid dependent to some degree, but this is a goal we expect to achieve. We should start mining ore by the end of 2021, as the project transitions from construction to operation.
Can you tell us about Anglo American’s agreement with ENGIE Energía Peru to provide renewable energy to Quellaveco via the Punta Lomitas wind farm?
We sat down with ENGIE Energía Peru just before Covid to start talking about what opportunities we have for green energy, and the deal was put together in the span of less than a year. This sends a message to the mining industry and to Peru that renewable energy is feasible, and we are very proud to be the first mine in the country that powers its entire operation via renewables. Quellaveco will require approximately 187 megawatts, and even on a global level there are very few mines of this scale that source 100% of their energy from renewable sources. We are very glad to support additional investment in Peru and the agreement we have with Engie will provide more jobs to the people of Peru.
How do the Caterpillar 794 AC autonomous mining trucks using Command for Hauling at Quellaveco compare to traditional vehicles?
At the moment we are going through a learning curve to see how we can get the best out of the trucks. For example, when the shovel operator fills up a manual truck, if he overflows the load it does not matter, but with an autonomous truck it does matter, because if you drop a rock in the way of an autonomous truck it will not operate as it will detect a hazard. However, we expect a significant productivity improvement in the coming months and years, especially when all the trucks become autonomous. We expect between a 10% to 30% improvement in productivity compared to a traditional fleet.
At Quellaveco we also made a commitment to the community, that even though we are using automous trucks we will still hire the same amout of people as we would in a manual operation, but some of the jobs will be different than before and we will train the people to be able to work in an digital mine.
What are some of Anglo American’s initiatives to increase the participation of women at its operations?
Across the company this has been a big focus and we are at about 25% participation of women at Quellaveco. It is important to create an inclusive environment where all workers feel comfortable.
What message would you give about the importance of fostering a collaborative mining climate in the country?
Since I have been here I have seen the tremendous opportunities that Peru’s mining sector presents, and I think this should be emphasized more than it is. As an industry we need to sit down with government and figure out how we are going to capture this opportunity to benefit the Peruvian people. If we are not careful and too many restrictions are introduced, future investment is going to dry up or go somewhere else. All stakeholders should have a fair share, make a fair profit, and have access to development. I think we have done a good job of this at Quellaveco, and this is a good example of how we need to do things moving forward.