Chilean state copper miner Codelco is working to form an alliance among the biggest mining companies in the country to define a common architecture to facilitate IT integration in their operations, Codelco senior CIO Marco Orellana told BNamericas.
"The big weakness that mining still has is that processes are very fragmented and non-integrated. Nowadays, you buy a banking solution and it works on its own. Everything is integrated. That's not happening in mining. You still have multiple providers and many solutions that you have to integrate manually," Orellana said.
In the early 2000s, Codelco defined its own IT architecture to support the many solutions it would acquire in the following years. But under that system, each solution has to be specially adapted to fit within the company's architecture.
Orellana would like to see IT products going straight from the market to its operations, without any development required in between. But, "for the [software] providers to do that, it has to be more than just Codelco."
US-based miner Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE: FCX) has agreed to participate in the alliance, which is backed by the Universidad de Chile, and a number of other miners have been invited to join, the CIO said.
To read more about the importance and challenges of IT in the mining industry, see the BNamericas Mining Intelligence Series report, to be published in the coming days.