Chile’s copper producer Codelco had reportedly signed a deal with Microsoft to accelerate the digitisation of its operations at the copper mines.

The deal is expected to help the Chilean miner extend automation and improve analytics.

The scope of the project also includes a training component for Codelco’s employees, Reuters reported.

The joint project with the US-based technology firm would not only help boost the firm’s efficient production processes but also promote sustainable operations, Codelco was quoted as saying by the news agency.

The deal comes as the Chilean copper miner seeks to implement new technologies at its ageing deposits with declined ore grades to reduce costs and boost efficiency.

Codelco CEO Alvaro Garcia was cited by Reuters as saying: “We are promoting profound changes so that different areas operate in a completely remote and automated way, reducing risks, improving productivity, safety and reliability of our operation.”

However, the deal raised concerns by the unions, who consider the digitisation of operations a threat to their livelihoods.

Mining companies worldwide are considering remote mine operations to reduce the risk of accidents and increase efficiency.

Reports recently emerged that Codelco plans to start construction work on the $1.38bn Rajo Inca project in the coming few weeks.

The project involves the overhaul of the company’s ageing Salvador mine and addition of 47 years to the mine’s life.

It involves its conversion from an underground site to an open-cast mine.