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On-line measurement for filling level of ore stocks

Faena: Codelco Andina

Deadline 22/09/2023

Closing Time 4:00 pm

The continuous operation of the 2nd – 3rd and 3rd – 4th crushing stages at the Codelco Andina Division concentrator plant depends on the supply of ore from different stocks located at intermediate points, so it is essential to maintain adequate control of their filling level. It is important to consider that these stocks correspond to ore disposed on live rock with gravitational discharge, generating dead load rings and segregation of the material as it is discharged. At the same time, the material causes erosion of the walls of the stocks, so their geometry and storage capacity are variable.

Currently, the measurement of the filling level of the intermediate stocks is done manually, which generates uncertainties for the autonomy of the process in the event of plant stoppages and has a direct impact on the efficiency of operational decisions. 

In addition, this manual maneuver requires the allocation of human resources that are exposed to the risk of accidents at each measurement.

Technological solutions are sought that allow online measurement of the level of ore filling in intermediate stocks of crushed ore.

The scouting process could lead to the identification and selection of suppliers for a supply or purchase process, whose scope will be defined according to the degree of maturity of the proposals that apply to the open innovation process, which could lead to a pilot validation test, or to an implementation if they are relevant and meet the evaluation and selection criteria defined by Codelco.

  • Minimum or no presence of people for operation and maintenance.
  • The measurement frequency must consider at least the delivery of the filling level at the beginning and end of the shift.
  • The proposed system and its components must have heavy duty characteristics, given the aggressive conditions of the environment (permanent particulate material, humidity, material projection and low visibility).
  • It must deliver reports online, in the control room or wherever the client requires.
  • The proposal must indicate the level of error or accuracy of the measurement system.
  • Low maintenance and calibration requirements, with high reliability and availability above 95%.
  • Minimal modification of the existing infrastructure for its implementation.

The measurement of the filling level of intermediate stocks that feed the different crushing stages is done manually. It is necessary to identify technological solutions that allow delivering their fill level online.

  • Uncertainty in the estimation of the real loading volume in the stocks.
  • Uncertainty in process autonomy and limited efficiency for operational decisions.
  • Segregation of fines and coarse ore in stocks.
  • Risk of accidents due to staff exposure.

At the beginning and end of each shift.

Manual measurement with rope and plumb bob, and also ultrasonic radars.


The following will not be considered in the background evaluation process:

  • Advisories, consultancies or engineering studies.
  • Solutions that require major modifications to the existing infrastructure.