"We combine our mining experience with our expertise in digital, power and new energy to help customers find the most economic solutions to navigate to net-zero across the entire life of an asset."
How has Peru’s mining sector evolved in terms of sustainability, and how can Worley help reach mining companies’ sustainability goals and reduce their environmental footprint?
At our recent Investor Day (June 2021), we launched our sustainability pathways, which focus heavily on decarbonization and water stewardship, both of which are fundamental aspects of how we bring value to our customers and the communities in which we work and live.
Water has a spiritual significance in Peru, and we are currently developing water stewardship solutions for some of the country’s largest mines. We observe the United Nations’ sustainable development goals and are committed to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. We also help our customers reduce or eliminate waste through lean project approaches and data driven insights, enabling smarter solutions to be developed and implemented more rapidly than the mining industry has driven in the past.
The displacement of diesel by electrification in open cast and underground mines is another area where short term benefits are possible, and we have a framework where we rapidly assess the carbon footprint of a mine and design appropriate solutions. Through our consulting business, Advisian, we are heavily involved in the conceptual redesign of the entire energy mix and have experience and expertise across all renewable energy sources, including green hydrogen.
Can you elaborate on some sustainability projects Worley has worked on worldwide?
From the Pilbara in Western Australia and deep underground in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia to the high Andean plateau in Chile and Peru, we are active in the delivery of mining projects with strong ESG credentials. We combine our mining experience with our expertise in digital, power and new energy to help customers find the most economic solutions to navigate to net-zero across the entire life of an asset.
What are some of the projects Worley’s Peru office have been working on?
Worley’s Peru office is currently working on nine projects, ranging from definitive feasibility studies for greenfield copper projects, to the expansion of onsite and offsite infrastructure for the country’s largest mining operations.
Aligned to our sustainability objectives, our ore sorting technologies and dry stack tailings expertise are helping miners reduce their energy and water requirements for metals production. We are looking at specific processing technologies that improve metal recoveries in existing operations and enable the reprocessing of existing waste streams from previous operations for commercial gain.
Do you think the digitalization at mine sites has increased due to the pandemic?
The pandemic has certainly accelerated the urgency for digitalization. There are people currently working from home who would have normally been on site. A lot of what has changed is going to be part of our new world, and we will continue to see increased digitization on mine sites.
Many miners currently use building information modelling (BIM) at evolving levels (3D, 4D and 5D). However, in the next five years the industry will likely progress to 6D and 7D models as a minimum. Data from real-time and historic sensors installed on the physical asset will allow miners to create a ‘digital replica’ of their mine. This is a simulated model of their operations and a working representation of the physical asset. Here sustainability, commissioning and efficient transition from construction to operations can come into play.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to data. Particularly through advanced technologies like AI and machine learning. However, data on its own is not enough if it isn’t converted into informative decisions that create value, improve certainty of outcomes or reduce risk. As a global mining industry, we need to derive value from the data we collect and that is the focus of our digital team.
We must continue to observe that Peru is an emerging economy and the relationship between the mining sector and communities is key to the success of an operation. There will be the implementation of critical automation, but not all operations will become completely digitized as we still need the human element for a lot of mining processes, as well as job creation.