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Copper miner Codelco and future facing commodities company BHP have signed a collaboration agreement which will focus on the exchange of knowledge between both companies in finding sustainable ways to mine.

The agreement is the first of its kind in the history of either Codelco or BHP, and has a term of five years.

The agreement addresses current challenges both major miners are facing in this area, which include:

  • searching for technologies that will enable economic exploitation of low-grade minerals
  • operations that are in deep deposits and have complex metallurgical conditions
  • the design of tasks that use less or no water in the processes and that generate the least impact on the environment
  • the effective exploitation of advanced technologies in terms of mineral exploration.

The agreement would be guided by a steering committee and would be implemented by working groups with professionals employed by either BHP or Codelco.

Codelco chief executive Andre Sougarret said its copper is part of the solution to climate change, which is why it must be produced in a sustainable manner.

“In order to imagine these new ways of doing mining, innovation is one of the main axes of our management, a focus that we can only develop in alliance with players who are equally active in this search, as is the case with BHP,” Sougarret said.

BHP Americas’ president Rag Udd said its alliance with Codelco is a symbol of the efforts made to find solutions to climate change.

“We cannot advance in decarbonisation or contribute to the energy transition alone. For BHP, agreements such as this show how joint work between the public-private sector is essential to make mining an increasingly sustainable industry,” Udd said.