Back to the news

CAP is seeking startups to digitalise important mining complex

Posted on May 13, 2019

The CAP Group, through CAP Mining, in alliance with ChileGlobal Ventures, the venture capital area of Fundación Chile and Expande, opened a call for the best startups to promote innovation and solve production challenges in the largest iron plant based on a circular economy model in Chile.

Winners will have the choice of becoming long-term suppliers of the company and scale their project to other operations of the main producer of iron and pellets on the Pacific-American coast.

Planta Magnetita, located in the Atacama region, is one of the most recognised symbols of the mining industry worldwide, because it is one of the largest industrial recycling operations in the world and one of the few in Chile that converts mining environmental liabilities in an export asset, being a benchmark in circular economy.

CAP Mining, part of the CAP Group, wants to go a step further in the digital transformation of its facilities in order to make its processes even more efficient and sustainable. Thus it established a strategic alliance with Fundación Chile (FCH), through its venture capital area, ChileGlobal Ventures, to find the best startups that can incorporate digital solutions in the production processes of Planta Magnetita. “The Mining Evolution” call is supported also by FCH´s Open Innovation Program in Mining, Expande. Interested startups will be able to apply from May 6to June 9, 2019.

It proposes two main challenges for the digitalisation of Planta Magnetita:

To improve the collection, reliability and analysis of information at the plant to ensure the goals of physical availability through predictive maintenance and to increase the control of critical variables for the optimisation of the milling process, with a focus on operating decisions and cost reduction through consumption, failures and down time.

There will be awards for applicants who get the first, second and third places, respectively, in each of the challenges. First-place winners will have access to a monetary incentive to improve their ideas and implement a pilot project of their technological solution at Planta Magnetita.

Likewise, startups that obtain the second and third place (in each challenge) will also be recognised with a prize.

In total, the best startups will receive USD42,000 for distribution, as an impulse to continue moving forward with their initiatives.

Additionally, the winners of The Mining Evolution challenge will have the possibility of opting for ChileGlobal Ventures’ financing lines, which, in addition to financial support to boost the startup, includes mentoring, contacts and mentoring for commercial validation, expansion and internationalisation of the project. The entry of startups to the ChileGlobal Ventures portfolio will be subject to prior evaluation and approval of the institution.

Erick Weber, general manager of the CAP Group and chairman of the CAP Mining board, explains that “currently, innovation plays a very important role in all of the CAP Group companies, and is one of the focuses of our strategic priorities. In this context, we are very happy to start this open innovation challenge at CAP Mining, together with the CAP Innovation Space, which reinforces collaborative work with the innovation ecosystem and sets the grounds for new projects with a real impact on our operations and businesses.”

Moreover, the managing director of ChileGlobal Ventures, Jamie Riggs, comments that “part of our value offer – the result of over 40 years of experience in venture capital – is to connect companies with startups to solve their challenges in an agile and efficient way, through disruptive technologies that can make a difference in their production processes. We are sure that, after this call, great things will be achieved with CAP and the startups we select, setting a precedent in the country’s mining industry.”

Application requirements

The startups that apply for this call must demonstrate that they have at least one MVP which can be piloted at the Planta Magnetita of CAP Mining and that meets the challenges posed. Startups that are at ideation or conceptual prototyping stages will not be considered in this application.

Applicants may present a solution for one or both of the challenges announced, if they deem it convenient.

According to challenge organisers, it is ideal that the participating teams have previous knowledge about the mining industry or have developed initiatives in similar sectors, such as the heavy industry.

All applications will be received through the website

Technology and Innovation at the centre of the organisation

This call is part of a corporate strategy towards the digital transformation of the company, both in its corporate area as well as in its plant production processes.

This project is a pilot program that, if successful, could be scaled to other areas of the company, which would be a great opportunity for winning entrepreneurs. As explained by the deputy manager of technology and innovation of CAP Mining, Rodrigo Martínez, “we believe that this challenge of open innovation provides us with a great opportunity for our processes to be enriched with the knowledge, strength and agility of entrepreneurs, through different solutions that add value in our operations and to the region. At CAP Mining we have important challenges, in different areas, which we will solve through collaborative work both internally and with other instances of connection with the environment.”

 About the CAP Group

CAP is the main producer of iron ores and pellets on the Pacific-American coast, the largest steel producer in Chile and the most important steel processor in the country.

The CAP Group today has several operations distributed throughout the country, which makes it the only company in Chile present in the entire ferric value chain, from iron mining (throuCAP Mineria), steel production (CAP Acero) and in the development of steel solutions (Grupo de Procesamiento de Acero), seeking to meet the needs of its many domestic and foreign clients.

Moreover, CAP Infraestructura is a business that includes the desalination water company Cleanairtech Sudamérica, the electric transmission company Tecnocap and Puerto Las Losas.

About ChileGlobal Ventures

ChileGlobal Ventures is the venture capital area of Fundación Chile, whose mission is to connect its main actors for the generation of better and greater investment opportunities in startups with high innovative content and strategic value for the development of Chile and Latin America.

ChileGlobal Ventures has a portfolio of more than 110 financed startups, with USD30.5 million in capital being managed between its four business lines: the accelerator, the angel investors network, the CLIN investment fund and its open innovation projects.

About Expande

Expande is a public-private open innovation program that seeks to promote an innovation ecosystem, from and to mining, that enables the installing of local technological capabilities that lead to the development of a more sustainable, competitive and global industry. This, by mapping the supply and demand of technological solutions and the creation and promotion of collaboration networks. The program also focuses on facilitating the exchange, scaling and transfer of technology, transferring knowledge and tools to the ecosystem and supporting suppliers that enable the development of an industry of goods and services around mining with export potential.

 Expande currently has the participation of Corfo, Antofagasta Minerals, BHP, Codelco, Collahuasi, Corporación Alta Ley, Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism, Ministry of Mining and IDB Lab. Both the design and implementation of this program have been developed by Fundación Chile.