Learn How VRIFY Helped Los Andes Copper Build Trust and Engage with Stakeholders Throughout the Vizcachita Project's Exploratory and Pre-feasibility Stages.

Nova Siegmann
Senior Manager, Content & Education
March 21, 2024
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Case Studies

With 3D models and satellite imagery from VRIFY, Los Andes Copper is empowered to communicate its findings from exploratory and pre-feasibility stages in immersive, high-impact formats that start meaningful conversations.

Los Andes Copper Ltd. Vizcachitas Project

Sometimes, a core sample is beautiful. 

It's something Los Andes Copper Ltd. CEO Santiago Montt has heard geologists say while on-site at Vizcachitas, a 100% owned greenfield copper mining project in the Andes mountains in Chile. 

"They call it beautiful," he says. "'A beautiful drill' means that as an initial estimation, it's very interesting." 

As the newly-appointed CEO, Santiago finds working close to the project's exploration team "one of the most fascinating aspects of the role."

Before joining Los Andes Copper in 2022, Santiago rose through several divisions at BHP, including Corporate Affairs, and was in crisis management during the Samarco dam disaster. Over the years, he's developed a "360-degree level of practice" in the mining industry. 

With Vizcachitas, the opportunity to bring "responsible, sustainable prosperity to a whole community" drives his passion. The vision is clear: Vizcachitas, now with a positive pre-feasibility report published, is well-positioned to significantly contribute to the increasing demands for copper in the EV and electrification industries while providing the neighboring community of Putaendo with sustainable commitments to help bolster its rural traditions.

The challenge is getting that message across to the public. From experience, Santiago believes continuous and clear communication is vital. 

"You need to engage with your stakeholders to keep them informed of what you are doing, how you do things, your objectives, and how you plan to go from here to there," he says. 

"Communication is of the essence, and that's why VRIFY is so critical for us. We have been using VRIFY for investor relations and engagement with our community stakeholders." 

Bridging the Communication Gap

It's one hurdle to prove the sustainable performance of a project through a robust pre-feasibility study. It's another hurdle to empower stakeholders of all backgrounds to understand what that looks like for their welfare. 

The Vizcachitas project includes several pillars of sustainable design, including desalinated water, renewable energy, and the implementation of dry-stack tailings, which reduces water consumption by 50%. 

"This geographic area has been impacted by climate change," Santiago says. Ongoing feedback from community members has highlighted the importance of water, and Los Andes Copper has focused on addressing those concerns. Drought and poverty have disrupted the rural county whose inhabitants are "proud of their farming traditions." 

"We're bringing mining in not to displace tradition but to complement it," he says. The project is also estimated to generate approximately 5000 jobs during construction and 1200 jobs in operation. 

Gathering feedback from the community has been fundamental to the exploration and pre-feasibility stages of mining at Vizcachitas. Santiago sees it as a way to ensure that by the time they begin their licensing process, the project will be well-known by the community and representative of its concerns. 

Santiago looks to VRIFY to keep everyone up-to-date in a transparent and easily understandable way. He sees 3D imagery as the catalyst for starting richer conversations. 

"VRIFY provides a great opportunity to explain how mining works," he says. "In a place like Chile, where mining is the most important economic activity of the country, to be able also to communicate how things work is very relevant." 

With VRIFY, Santiago can adapt his visual tools to connect with audiences looking for as much detail as investors and as broad an overview as local politicians and regional stakeholders. 

"The capacity to visualize the site in 3D provides you with a platform to build better relationships and engage with people in much higher-quality interactions," says Santiago. 

Meeting Audiences Where They Are

Copper is a critical mineral for the demands of the energy transition to low-carbon electricity. "The world is moving away from oil and gas into energy, electricity," Santiago says. "There's a big opportunity coming in the copper space, and Chile is the #1 producer of copper."

Communicating the environmental benefits, and the urgency of demand, is one of the critical messages in Santiago's engagement efforts. With VRIFY 3D and satellite imagery, Los Andes Copper can bring the story to life across digital channels, including social media.

"We're constantly putting short messages on Instagram, LinkedIn, and other platforms," he says.

"Today, social media is so relevant as a communication tool."

Using VRIFY, Santiago plans to bring bite-sized video messages to social posts, using immersive 3D visuals to increase engagement and clarify questions about the project.  

Santiago sees the need for better communication and commitment to a greener future as a sector-wide effort.

"It's about all of us in the mining industry communicating this opportunity and also developing and operating very responsibly so we can win the confidence of the people," he says. "Today, people care about the environment. The mining industry needs to be able to perform, design, and execute according to social expectations."

Visualizing Positive Impact

Before VRIFY, Santiago says, "We'd have to use drawings and PowerPoint" to present a project like Vizcachitas to investors and community stakeholders. "There would usually be some way to use video as well, but with VRIFY, it's much easier to access."

Interactive 3D models of PFS pit phases, deposits, and infrastructure provide a visual impact that aligns with today's smartphone-led landscape. It's the 3D aspect that makes VRIFY presentations unique.

"People are very impressed by our presentation," Santiago says. "A response we get is, 'Wow, that's super powerful!'"

With Santiago's leadership and his team's efforts, the VRIFY-driven Vizcachtias presentation is reaching stakeholders across channels to bring the vision of a sustainable, prosperous future in Tier 1 copper mining to life.
"In mining, when things are well designed and well implemented, you have the power to bring prosperity and opportunities to people where otherwise they wouldn't exist," he says.

But there are still conversations to be had.

"It's not that the visual tools replace words or, even more than words, the human interaction because, at the end of the day, it's all about building relationships based on trust, confidence, and honesty," Santiago says. "3D representation is a great point to start with, which we will continue to use along our path."

Immersive imagery and good conversations are all you need to understand how a core sample can be beautiful.

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