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World's largest copper mine to get AI push

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(Kitco News) - BHP Billiton announced today it tapped Microsoft to use artificial intelligence and lift copper recovery at Escondida.

The collaboration between BHP and Microsoft will use artificial intelligence and machine learning with the aim of improving copper recovery at the world's largest copper mine, the miner said in a statement.

BHP Chief Technical Officer Laura Tyler said by augmenting new digital technology capabilities with new ways of working, the team at Escondida is well-positioned to generate more value from an existing resource.

"We expect the next big wave in mining to come from the advanced use of digital technologies. As grades decline at existing copper mines and fewer new economic discoveries are made, next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics will need to be used to unlock more production and value from our existing mines,” she said.

In 2022 BHP's Escondida, the world's largest copper mine, saw production in 2022 grew 4.3% to 1,054,000 tonnes. The company said that Escondida copper production increased primarily due to higher concentrator feed grade.

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