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ORBCOMM > Case Studies > Maximizing ROI in Mining Operations with IoT: A Case Study of Los Pelambres Copper Mine

Maximizing ROI in Mining Operations with IoT: A Case Study of Los Pelambres Copper Mine

 Maximizing ROI in Mining Operations with IoT: A Case Study of Los Pelambres Copper Mine - IoT ONE Case Study
Technology Category
  • Networks & Connectivity - Cellular
  • Networks & Connectivity - Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)
Applicable Industries
  • Mining
  • Transportation
Applicable Functions
  • Logistics & Transportation
  • Maintenance
Use Cases
  • Tank Level Monitoring
  • Vehicle Telematics
  • System Integration
The Challenge
Los Pelambres, a copper mine located in Salamanca, Chile, faced a significant challenge in its operations. The mine, which is the seventh largest producer of copper in the world, relied on 55 Komatsu mining trucks for the transportation of copper. In an effort to maximize asset utilization, the mine adopted a fast refueling system that reduced refueling time from 25 to approximately 5 minutes. However, this initiative led to a series of unexpected issues. The factory-installed fuel sensors ruptured due to the pressure from the fast refueling system. Without a working fuel sensor, drivers had to guess when to refuel and how much fuel to add back into the tank. This led to frequent under or overfilling of the tanks, causing operational delays and increased downtime. The mine needed a solution that could withstand the pressure from the fast refueling system, relay fuel level and truck location data back to a centralized application, and include a user-friendly interface for monitoring.
The Customer

Los Pelambres

About The Customer
Los Pelambres is a copper mine located in Salamanca, Chile, and is partly owned by Antofagasta Minerals. The mine is the seventh largest producer of copper in the world and is situated at an elevation of over 3,000 meters above sea level in the Andes Mountains. The mine covers 50 square kilometers of uneven terrain and transports more than 365,000 tons of copper every year. The mine's operations heavily rely on 55 Komatsu mining trucks, which are known for their reliability and are often used in remote and difficult applications.
The Solution
The solution was developed by Tarco LTDA, a Chilean integrator specializing in custom tracking and monitoring solutions for the mining industry. The PCR 1000—Tarco’s state-of-the-art remote fuel monitoring system—constantly monitors tank levels and transmits tank-level data as well as other vehicle telematics data back to a centralized application in real-time using ORBCOMM’s IDP-782 terminal. The IDP-782 transmits data over the cellular network when available and automatically switches to a satellite data service when cellular is down for uninterrupted connectivity. The ruggedized, fuel monitoring system is capable of withstanding extreme environmental conditions. The IDP-782 dual-mode terminal continuously collects, processes, and transmits data from the truck, identifying user-defined thresholds and sending only relevant information over the air to minimize data transmission costs. The PCR 1000 remote fuel monitoring system gives the control center complete visibility into refueling operations and an easy-to-use interface that displays truck location and tank levels in real-time.
Operational Impact
  • The implementation of the PCR 1000 remote fuel level monitoring system has significantly improved the operational efficiency at Los Pelambres. The centralized approach to the refueling process provides greater visibility into the trucks, improves efficiencies, and maximizes profitability. The vehicle telematics data collected and transmitted via the IDP-782 helps streamline service scheduling and support preventative maintenance practices, reducing wear and tear and prolonging the life of the vehicle. This translates into operational savings. The solution also supplies valuable data for asset utilization. Upon analysis, mine operators were able to identify that the same amount of minerals could be processed with fewer trucks, thereby improving the company’s profitability.
Quantitative Benefit
  • An additional 1,200 liters of fuel can be added to the tanks at each refueling stop.
  • The number of stops per month is reduced by 10 for each truck.
  • Approximately four additional hours of work time are added over the same period.

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