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Codelco CIO transforms business with business process automation

Marco Antonio Orellana Silva, Codelco-Chile's CIO, explains how business process automation is changing how the mining company operates.

Codelco-Chile, the world's largest copper mining company, is expanding beyond its country's borders and thinking...

of ways to improve its miners' day-to-day lives and performance. At the heart of these business goals are the IT department and Codelco Digital, the business process automation brainchild of Codelco CIO Marco Antonio Orellana Silva.

In this CIO Innovator video, Orellana explains how his "conservative" company is encouraging its miners to submit ideas for business process automation and business innovation, how Codelco Digital has become strategic to the business, and why it was introduced:

"We needed more safety conditions for the workers, and we needed to create a more attractive business for the new workers who don't like working inside the mines and inside the tunnels," said Orellana who won the 2011 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium Award for Innovation Leadership. "Codelco Digital is related to incorporating technology inside the mine."

Trucks inside Codelco's four mines in northern Chile operate without drivers through the use of automation technology, for example; and all its mines now are managed by the workers in a central automation facility.

Introduced in 2003, Codelco Digital today is considered a strategic part of the business, and is budgeted as a primary line item, Orellana said. "Today we have changed the type of professional inside the technology areas. We have people with expertise in mining, and the position of the technology area today is strategic to the planning of the company. [This was accomplished by] dividing the technology into two areas. One part [is for] automation and operations; the other part is strategic, to support the CEO of the company."

Watch the video to learn more about Codelco Digital, the company's innovation program, and which technology is causing Orellana to reconsider the way Codelco operates.

CIO Innovators

The CIO Innovators profile series highlights how CIOs use technology to meet both IT and business leadership objectives. To suggest a leader for a future CIO Innovator profile, email

Let us know what you think about the story; email Christina Torode, News Director.

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