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Welcome to FutureSmartTM Mining

Building on 100 years of technology and innovation leadership, we have set out a new approach to innovation.

FutureSmart™ mining applies cutting-edge technological advances and broad innovative thinking to address mining’s major challenges. Through collaborative partnerships, we are connecting people to find safer, more efficient and more sustainable ways to mine the precious metals and minerals that our customers need.

The future is FutureSmart™ mining. Discover our stories below.

An introduction to FutureSmart<sup>TM</sup> mining

An introduction to FutureSmartTM mining

In a world of change, the future belongs to those who can redefine it.

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In a world of change, the future belongs to those who can redefine it.

Steering clear of trouble

Steering clear of trouble

Automation and detection advancements

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Automation and detection advancements

As part of our FutureSmart™ mining strategy, we invest in technology to keep our people safe and to build efficient processes.

Evolving drilling and cutting systems

The technical demands of underground hard rock mining operations are higher than for open cut, which is why we are collaborating with key mining machinery and technology manufacturers (OEMs) to transform how we mine underground using advanced drilling and cutting systems.

We have created the Rapid Mine Development System (RMDS) together with Atlas Copco, designed to quickly, cost efficiently and safely develop low-profile tunnels in hard rock.

The RMDS excavates a rectangular-shaped tunnel, important for roof stability purposes in platinum mines, for example, as well as providing the flat floor needed by mine vehicles. As well as removing people from areas of most danger underground, the RMDS causes less damage to the overhead walls, thereby reducing the risk of collapse and enables greater ore excavation time as there is no time lost for explosive blasting.

We are currently testing the RMDS at our Twickenham platinum mine in South Africa.

OBJECT DETECTION AND AUTO-BRAKING TECHNOLOGY

We have fitted trucks at our Sishen iron ore mine in South Africa with tracking radars for object detection, in-cab operator display, collision detection alarms, and auto-braking technology.

The auto-braking technology in particular significantly improves accident prevention. It helps operators avoid collisions by indicating when danger is imminent and automatically adjusts the truck’s speed, applying the brakes if an operator fails to do so when there is an obstacle.

It also limits movement of the haul truck when an object is detected and reduces the majority of incidents that occur by reducing speed in areas that are geo-fenced with a speed limit.

Evolution of evaporation measurement

Evolution of evaporation measurement

Reliable evaporation calculations can lead to significant savings

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Reliable evaporation calculations can lead to significant savings

The volume of water that evaporates from a mine void once the mine has reached the end of its life dictates the extent of rehabilitation that must be undertaken.

That’s why, in Australia, the Technical Development team – part of our Technical and Sustainability function – has engaged the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Land and Water to develop better methods for measuring and predicting evaporation from mining voids.

The trial at Drayton mine uses a floating evaporation pan and a weather buoy to provide high quality data used by the CSIRO team to automatically calculate evaporation on a daily basis.

Sharing learnings

Claire Cote, Environmental Specialist said that the trial has not been without its challenges.

“The wind and wave action has been a challenge causing the water in the pan to spill out,” she said.

“The Drayton team is working closely with the CSIRO team to adapt the design to better meet the windy conditions at Drayton.”

Despite the challenges, initial analysis shows that this study will deliver much more accurate values for the daily volume of water that evaporates from the pit than has previously been obtained through traditional methods.

“The intention is to share the learnings from the Drayton trial with other Business Units across the Anglo American group, starting with Platinum in Q1 2017,” Claire said.

Harnessing the power of sound

Harnessing the power of sound

Using sound waves to detect water depth in Brazil

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Using sound waves to detect water depth in Brazil

To monitor the main reservoirs of the dams at our Minas-Rio iron ore operations in the states of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, we use a device called an ‘echo-bathometer’.

The echo-bathometer – one of only two in Brazil – works by emitting sound waves that reach the bottom of the reservoir, which are then measured and recorded in real time with GPS.

Eliminating risk

To reach its desired location in the reservoir, it is transported via a remote-controlled boat. The consequent results tell us the depth of the lake and volume of material deposited there.

This innovative technology eliminates the human risk associated with more traditional methods of water-depth measurement.

Building platinum partnerships

Building platinum partnerships

Fuel cell technology is at the heart of our Platinum business’ innovation activity

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Fuel cell technology is at the heart of our Platinum business’ innovation activity

We recognise the importance of working with talented partners to support our business objectives and – in particular – our sustainability goals. This approach to partnership is at the heart of Anglo American Platinum’s FutureSmart™ mining efforts.

One of the companies we partner with is Greyrock, a leader in small scale gas-to-liquids technology and manufacturer of platinum-based catalysts for Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs).

These catalysts – which use platinum from our mines – help to generate enough power to run a vehicle but without the noise or harmful CO2 and other noxious emissions of a normal combustion engine.

Launch of the Hydrogen Council

We are committed to supporting the development of the hydrogen and fuel cell sectors through partnerships. And that’s why we are members of the Hydrogen Council, launched at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting – Davos 2017.

Fuel cells by Ballard

The Hydrogen Council is a global initiative consisting of thirteen leading energy, transport and industrial companies working towards a long-term ambition for hydrogen to take a lead in the world’s energy transition strategy.

Water recycling in Chile

Water recycling in Chile

Los Bronces upgrades water transportation system

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Los Bronces upgrades water transportation system

Mining relies on the use of water, but with many mines situated in areas where water supplies are scarce, we are always looking for ways to reduce – and where possible eliminate – our use of fresh water, meaning there is more for everyone else.

Supporting water conservation

At our Los Bronces copper mine in Chile, high in the Andes mountains, we reassessed our water conservation approach when faced with water supply limitations.

As the mine is located in a historically water-short area, close to the highly populated city of Santiago, the challenge was to try and recycle as much as possible so we weren’t dependent on large volumes of fresh water.

After months of planning, we upgraded the water transportation system – which moves water along a 56-kilometre pipeline from the Las Tortolas tailings dam – using an integrated automated circuit for recirculation.

As a result, Los Bronces is now recycling more than 78% of the water it uses – a huge increase from the 25% it was recycling just five years ago. And in 2015, 64% of the water we used across Anglo American was recycled or re-used.

Our next goal is to increase this to 80%.

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