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A Crab Robot inspects mining wells in Chile

Inspenet, March 17, 2023

The Robot Crab, Maigom’s new robotic technology, originally used in the oil industry, has been used for two months in ‘El Teniente’, the largest underground copper deposit on the planet, located 50 kilometers from the city of Rancagua in Chile.

This robot allows more and better information to be obtained in areas that are difficult to access, providing greater security to operators, since it is operated remotely and reaches greater heights, eliminating direct risks for workers.

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Well inspection is a key process in mining preparation, where a camera is inserted to find out the conditions of the rock mass and identify, for example, in which areas of the well there is considerable damage, in addition to providing data to identify if the shape of extraction is being appropriate in terms of safety and operational continuity.

Furthermore, hydraulic fracturing is carried out in these spaces, which reduces seismicity and fractures the rock, reducing energy expenditure in the grinding process. When wells are in poor condition, they can damage this equipment, leading to risky recovery efforts.

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Claudio Blavi, a specialist engineer from the Innovation Department, explains that they carried out “tests in Esmeralda, Teniente 7 and Andes Norte of the New Teniente Project Portfolio, and we were able to reach 160 meters under some conditions, which gives us a quality of information far superior to what we had. We have subjected the device to different kinds of difficulties that we managed to overcome and we still have opportunities for improvement.”

For his part, Francisco Mainou, Technology Director of Maigom, the company that provides the service, highlighted the potential of this device: “The crab robot can help and open doors to other functionalities. There are still many more aspects that this robot will reveal and that it can deliver to mining. We are happy with this experience”.

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