Social Responsibility

Lab4U and Escondida | BHP Join Forces to Generate a Hands-On and In-Depth Learning Experience in Science, Technology, and Mining through Branded Experiments.


By Lab4U Team

According to the UN, by 2050, 75% of jobs will be related to STEM topics, making it crucial for our students to develop practical skills and acquire scientific knowledge applicable to real life.

With this goal in mind, Lab4U, along with Escondida | BHP, which has stood out since 2021 for its commitment to sustainability by transitioning to a 100% renewable energy matrix, has created experiments aimed at bringing young students and teachers closer to the fascinating world of the mining industry and its respective stages. Through three exciting experiences, participants can explore different mining processes while learning by doing. This provides students with an immersive and deeply educational activity, discovering how science, technology, and sustainability come together to address the challenges of the mining sector.

Using the camera on their mobile devices with the “Crushing Time” experiment, students can investigate how energy is transferred during the crushing process in mining, understanding how gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy combine to form total mechanical energy.

Escondida | BHP has invested US$3.4 billion in the Escondida Water Supply (EWS) project, which consists of a desalination plant and a water transport system to supply the copper mine. The desalination plant ensures a sustainable water supply in the desert areas of Chile and reduces dependence on aquifers, allowing Escondida | BHP to produce copper sustainably and meet its environmental commitments.

To learn how Escondida | BHP has incorporated various water-saving strategies in its processes and thus reduce water consumption during copper extraction, the “Let’s Save Every Drop” experiment will allow students to analyze the different stages of the leaching process. Through leaching, Escondida | BHP manages to reduce water consumption by more than 80% by using spheres made of 100% recycled plastic, which float on the water’s surface, insulate heat, and prevent evaporation. One of the processes benefiting from this saving is leaching, which allows obtaining copper sulfate from rocks fragmented during crushing.

To understand the key role of electrowinning in the production of copper-derived products, students can build a homemade system for this technique, through which they will obtain pure metallic copper during their science classes. This experiment will allow participants to understand the fundamental role of this process, which Escondida | BHP has focused on to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout its supply chain.

The mining industry plays a crucial role not only in the Chilean economy but also globally, so it is important that our students understand its operation and the challenges it faces to achieve an increasingly sustainable industry. Lab4U’s Branded Labs offer a great opportunity for our young people to learn firsthand, experiencing and exploring mining processes practically and getting to know new responsible practices in the extraction and processing of various minerals.

For the second year, Lab4U and Escondida | BHP are developing the STEM+Gender Program, aiming to enhance and bring talent closer to the mining industry to train and empower the workforce of the future. This will enable us to face the challenges and opportunities that the 21st century offers us towards equitable and sustainable development.

Get to know the experience of teachers and students participating in the STEM+Gender Program!

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