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Smart irrigation to mitigate environmental pollution in open pit mine


Deadline 26/11/2021

Closing Time 4:00 pm

Currently, in the open pit mine of the Gabriela Mistral and Ministro Hales Divisions the mitigation of particulate matter pollution on roads consists of irrigation by water trucks on a discretionary basis, i.e., the operator decides when to activate the irrigation of roads while he’s driving. For this operation, different procedures are considered depending on whether flat areas or slopes are watered, in order to avoid generating traction problems that could lead to safety incidents, mainly in mining trucks. One of the aspects that could be improved in the current process is that irrigation does not always achieve optimum wetting, as it is often more watered than necessary, generating water losses, operational problems and unsafe conditions.

The proposed technological solution must consider the following requirements:

  • On-line, real-time monitoring of pollution in the pit by means of particulate matter sensors.
  • Automatic control of irrigation flow in water trucks.
  • Software platform for processing information from different sources (location and status of equipment, levels of particulate matter in pit, slopes and road conditions, etc.) that allows the delivery of recommendations to the operation, controlling irrigation and assigning water trucks in real time.
  • Development of a technological interface between systems and people for the delivery of recommendations and reporting.
  • Connectivity through 3G, 4G (LTE) mobile networks.
  • Technological maturity level TRL ≥ 7, i.e. it must be at least tested in operational environment.
  • Comply with Codelco’s security and communications standards.

Identify technological solutions to implement an intelligent irrigation system for the mine pit roads, mitigating environmental pollution and optimizing the use of water and the fleet of water trucks.

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

  • Advisories, consultancies or engineering studies.
  • Proposals that only consider the monitoring of particulate matter.

Irrigation of the roads in the mine pit is done by water trucks on a discretionary basis and often does not achieve optimal wetting to adequately mitigate environmental pollution in the area.

  • Increased water consumption
  • Operational problems and unsafe conditions due to over-wetting of roads.
  • Overuse of the water truck fleet.
  • Irrigation of areas that do not require it.
  • Late allocation of cisterns that irrigate areas that already have a high level of pollution.

On a permanent basis.

Irrigation of roads using water trucks based on a previously prioritized schedule or on demand according to the estimated level of pollution, visualization and experience of mining truck operators, who requests irrigation in certain areas (radio communication).

New technologies have not been tested.


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