"Given the challenging seismic conditions near El Teniente, we apply and rely on some of the latest tele-commanded technology on the market to execute the project."
Can you introduce Züblin and its role in the mining industry?
DP: Züblin is under the Austrian-based STRABAG Group, one of the largest European contractors. STRABAG fully acquired Züblin in 2016. We have been established in Chile for over 30 years and have vast experience in the Chilean mining industry, where mining represents approximately 50% of our business.
We are a major player in the development and preparation of underground mines, providing services from construction to mining. Our experience covers civil works and mining infrastructure, as well as the integral exploitation of mines.
MT: Over the course of our time in Chile, we have built a collaborative relationship with our clients and successfully established long term relationships. We have partnered with renowned clients such as Lundin Mining for more than 15 years, and for the last 20 years we have worked on sizeable mining projects at El Teniente, Chuquicamata and Andina.
What is Züblin’s offering to the underground mining industry in Chile?
MT: Züblin actively participates in all significant underground mines across Chile. We offer the best technical and economically viable solutions to large-scaled mining ventures for clients such as Codelco. Our main attributes focus on the quality of our operations as well as the high safety standards that are an integral part of our working culture. For example, we have collaborated with Codelco on Chuquicamata since 2015, boring tunnels at an estimated rate of 1,800 meters per month during our peak performance, recording a staggering 5 million hours of work without lost time accident.
In March of 2019, we acquired a contract for El Teniente to construct tunnels averaging a length of 32.5 km. Given the challenging seismic conditions near El Teniente, we apply and rely on some of the latest tele-commanded technology on the market to execute the project. The equipment required to build the tunnel is operated remotely to comply with strict safety measures on site and ensure our staff’s safety.
Can you elaborate on some of the most exciting innovations happening in underground mining today?
MT: Technology development in underground mining today is focused on enhancing safety in combination with increased productivity. As mining worldwide dives deeper and becomes increasingly more challenging, the industry is in need of faster and safer ways of operating. We see this in the case of Codelco, for example, where the company is choosing to adopt more remote equipment and trucks in their operations. Züblin was part of a pilot program where operators drive the scaler and an excavator from a cabin stationed away from the working front. Another example is our use of Photo ADAM technology for cutting-edge photo mapping. The software allows for images to be overlapped with one another to create 3-D models for geological and geotechnical analysis. The use of equipment such as Boltec, for pre-drilling and mechanized fortification, is another noteworthy example of technological developments in this field.
How do you use your BIM.5D technology, and what are its applications in your mining projects?
DP: BIM.5D (Building Information Modelling) is an important pillar in the execution of our corporate strategy and improves our project delivery from design to take over by our clients. It can be used in the design, realization, and operation phases of a project. It is a model-based planning method that provides a visual representation of a project as it progresses. It highlights the materials and quantities required for the project and provides a timeline that demonstrates how changes in the design would impact the project. This level of digital planning technology is revolutionary in the construction industry, as it enhances cost efficiency design and scheduling. It also helps identify missing information and conflicts detected in the design, which helps avoid errors overall.
How is Züblin perceived by its clients?
DP: Züblin is perceived as a reliable partner with a proven ability to execute projects in an efficient manner. Our ambition is to be the leading technology partner in construction of the future. Our value as a partner is our commitment to quality, reliability and innovative spirit.