First hybrid dump machine to cart copper at Codelco’s El Teniente mine in Chile

A snapshot of El Teniente’s underground dimensions

The world’s top copper miner Codelco has added its first hybrid dump vehicle to its fleet at its El Teniente mine, the company said on Wednesday, in a global mining industry that is increasingly seeking to reduce its emissions and environmental footprint.

The so-called Load-Haul-Dump machine, known as an LHD, built by Japanese equipment manufacturer Komatsu, is expected to boost productivity by 10% to 20%, Codelco said, while reducing emissions by upward of 25%.

“This will permit us to boost productivity, improve work conditions underground and reduce costs, especially in terms of ventilation,” said Octavio Araneda, a vice president of operations for Codelco.

Codelco is undergoing a 10-year, $40 billion overhaul of its aging mines, including efficiency upgrades to boost productivity and lower costs.

The executive told Reuters the equipment was getting a trial run at the mine, and that the company would later evaluate the possibility of a more complete overhaul of its fleet.

Several major miners operating in Chile, the world’s top producer of copper, are seeking to reduce carbon emissions and their use of water as supply chains come under scrutiny globally.

Last month, miner Anglo American installed a floating island of solar panels in a tailings pond associated with its flagship Los Bronces mine outside Santiago, in a bid to boost efficiency and use of space near the metropolitan area.

(Reporting by Fabian Cambero, writing by Dave Sherwood; editing by Grant McCool)