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“Evaluation of the physical quality of copper cathodes in EW”

Faena: Minerals Centinels

Deadline 02/09/2022

Closing Time 4:00 pm

The inspection of cathodes takes on real importance from the process control point of view, since it allows detecting
substandard operational conditions that affect the
physical quality of the final product and, therefore, the
price and premiums to be received in international
markets. That is, those copper plates that do not present
imperfections or physical and superficial damages will be classified as On Grade for their later evaluation of chemical quality. Those that do not meet this condition
are defined as Off Grade and separated from the
production line.
Currently, cathodes are inspected visually by the bridge
crane operators, who identify “non-conformities” and mark those units that, in their opinion, do not comply with the physical quality standard established by Minera Centinela

Identify technological solutions to evaluate the physical
quality of the cathodes based on the following variables:
quality and homogenization of the deposit (e.g. nodulation,
scratches, irregular edges), presence of organic and
chemical residues (sulfates, lead, etc.), perforations, bent
plates, to name a few. Further details and criteria to be
applied on the annex 1

• Integral solution that includes sensorization, information
processing and analysis platform for the identification of
Off Grade cathodes, in which case it must issue alarms
in real time.
• The solution must be adaptable and non-invasive, i.e.
the devices or components must be easy to
install/maintain and must not require major structural
changes in the plant or electrolytic plant.
• The components must be heavy duty to ensure
resistance to highly corrosive environmental conditions
(IP67 or others).
• It must have a degree of advanced technological
maturity, TRL ≥ 5, i.e., at least as a validated prototype
in a complex or relevant environment.

• For sensors, cameras or other devices,
information must be provided
regarding: portability and location; data
storage and transmission capacity;
energy autonomy; and required
luminosity ranges.
• Delivery of daily and/or shift reports
with statistics of identified nonstandard cathodes.
• For data transmission must use
internal mesh network and must
comply with Antofagasta Minerals’
security and communications
standards.
• The proposal must include induction
and training to different areas,
considering Operations/Maintenance
EW Area, Information Technology and
Communications, among the most important.

Camera and image analysis tests at the
Zaldívar mine were successful only initially, and later failed due to the
corrosive environment.

• Eliminate or reduce human error in the
classification of cathodes by physical
quality.
• Reduce the operational risk to which
the operator is exposed in the current
evaluation process.

Timeline