Codelco selects Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS™ to improve productivity and efficiency - Case Study

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The Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco) is the main copper producer in the world, controlling approximately 20 percent of the world's copper reserves. Established in 1976, Codelco was created out of a 1971 Chilean constitutional reform that nationalized the copper industry. Codelco was established to operate and manage the mining properties given to the Chilean State as part of the reform.

Today, Codelco is a major employer in Chile, with almost 18,000 direct workers. The company reported 2006 sales of more than US $17.1 billion and produced 1,783 thousand tons of fine copper.

Codelco belongs to the Chilean State and its main business is exploring, developing and running mines that produce copper and by-products, processing the ore into refined copper and then selling it.

The World's Largest Copper Mining Company

Codelco carries out mineral extraction and processing of copper, as well as sales and marketing of products like cathodes, copper and molybdenum concentrates.

Codelco's headquarters are based in Santiago and its exploitation, processing and shipment operations are carried out by its four mining divisions and one smelter refinery: Codelco Norte (fusion of former Chuquicamata and Radomiro Tomic Divisions), Salvador, El Teniente, Ventanas and Andina. Codelco also participates in mining, non-mining and business associations with other companies. It has a network of subsidiaries and sales agents backing up its commercialization activities.

Codelco selected Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS™ for its Chuquicamata (now part of the Norte Division) facility. SampleManager was installed in one laboratory and several remote sampling sites. The functions of the laboratory include the preparation of raw materials, material process control, process control and finished product quality. Tests are run on solids, liquids and environmental materials.

SampleManager replaced Codelco's existing LIMS and the project was managed by Codelco's Quality Management and Information System departments. The LIMS server is located in Chuquicamata with clients also in Santiago and Antofagasta, Chile.

At the time of the deployment, Codelco decided to introduce Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) into the organization and required a LIMS that would facilitate this process. Codelco determined that it was necessary to select an information management system that would horizontally integrate with the enterprise. In addition, Codelco required a LIMS that would also integrate several remote and networked systems into a unique and common platform.

Since Codelco was introducing GLP, it had to conform to a number of external regulatory disciplines. The audit tracking and validation within SampleManager conforms to ISO 9000, environmental testing to ISO 14000 and security of systems to ISO 18000. In addition, the organization is subject to regulations by the Chilean Health and Geological departments.

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