Meet innovation specialist María José Astudillo Rodríguez

Civil Chemical Engineer María José Astudillo Rodríguez has an important role to play in fostering a culture of innovation at Molycop and ensuring the company’s innovation efforts target the needs of Molycop customers.

María José Astudillo Rodríguez, a Civil Chemical Engineer by profession and certified with a Masters Degree in Data Science, is part of the company's Innovation team. The department is focused on creating cutting-edge products that elevate efficiency and sustainability in the mining field. This approach encompasses research on materials, processing techniques and digitalisation of operations.

We spoke with Maria about the Innovation team’s efforts to develop new projects of benefit to the mining industry and her role in promoting a culture of innovation Molycop.

How would you describe the role of innovation at Molycop and its impact on the mining industry?

Molycop's role over the years has been to set a benchmark for grinding in the mining sector. Innovation is lodged in the DNA of the organisation, which aims to always offer better solutions to our customers. We aim to maintain strategic alliances with universities and research centres around the world, seek different perspectives to solve the constant challenges faced by our customers, articulate the initiatives of each region we work in to provide products designed for the specific needs of each mining company, and examine ways we can revolutionise the milling media business. 

What projects or initiatives have you led or participated in within Molycop?

My work is data analysis and predictive modeling. I am currently supporting the Innovation team in this area, with a focus on reducing product development time, and achieving the quality and validity necessary for commercialisation.

What are the main opportunities for Molycop to continue innovating and improving its performance in the industrial world?

There are several aspects that our customers face day-to-day that present us with an opportunity for improvement in the products and services we offer. These include sustainability, change in the characteristics of ore, and greater performance of grinding media. Our aim is to lead with improvements that the industry demands from our products. 

What support does Molycop provide to encourage creativity and the development of new ideas among its workers?

Molycop has numerous initiatives in place to encourage the generation of new ideas among workers. As a team we constantly link with other regions globally to communicate what we are developing and thus generate synergies within the company. 

What role do customers play in Molycop's innovation process?

The customer is the focus of all our developments in the innovation area. We have direct discussion sessions with the Commercial and Technical teams, who manage the direct relationship we have with customers. This helps us learn about customers’ challenges and be able to validate the advances and lines of research that we handle. This collaboration is crucial for the development of products designed for our customers. 

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the mining industry in terms of innovation? How does Molycop address this challenge?

I don't think there is a single biggest challenge. I think it is a set of changes in relation to paradigms, introduction of new technologies, relevance of caring for the environment, etc. 

Within a long-standing industry, we are experiencing a revolution around the way things have been done. From the point of view of the Innovation team, we are acquiring knowledge and developing enablers to continue increasing our excellence, from making decisions based on data to partnering with researchers who are at the forefront of their fields. 

What were your career expectations when joining Molycop?

A workplace with challenges and learning. Molycop is a company that is characterised by its excellence and the vast knowledge of its technical team. It’s a place that values the professional development of its workers and encourages education and learning. 

What values, principles or concepts do you think identify both you and Molycop?

Molycop is a company that has an intrinsic desire to want to improve continuously and push for change. I have this in common with the company and it motivates me on a daily basis – to take a different look at the challenges we have both internally and externally. 

How has the company contributed to your personal development?

The company has undoubtedly enriched my personal development. It has exposed me to all kinds of cultures and ways of working. In addition to developing my technical knowledge, I have had the opportunity to work and meet excellent professionals who have given me their knowledge so that I can grow within the organisation. 

What do you think is your main contribution to the progress of Molycop?

Personally, my energy and desire to achieve objectives on the way to data-driven decision-making has been my small contribution within the organisation. This can’t be achieved individually – it has to be done through teamwork.

Molycop – Progress Together

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