Gilberto Domínguez
Vice President and Senior Executive Engineer
Knight Piésold
View from the Top

Addressing the Error of Short-Term Planning

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 14:34

Q: As a consultant to the mining industry, how would you evaluate miners’ attitudes regarding CSR?
A: I think miners worldwide are growing more aware of CSR’s importance, particularly in South America and Mexico, where I have seen positive changes. CSR is getting more relevant every year, as community relations are now a deal breaker for projects, and the mining community is paying more attention to them. We may have not paid CSR as much attention in the past, but the industry is learning, albeit in some cases through mistakes. Knight Piésold’s projects focus particularly on environmental protection taking into consideration social aspects.
Q: How would you evaluate environmental regulations for the Mexican mining industry?
A: As we always work and comply with international requirements, when we compare those of SEMARNAT to what we typically do for our projects, we find these are at high standards. The regulations are good, but depend on effective enforcement. We are very environmentally aware as a company and always strive to make sure our projects do address related issues. In Mexico, I am more critical about enforcement of the regulations. Even though SEMARNAT has all these requirements, there are several mines in which compliance is not prioritized.
There are important lessons to learn from the environmental mistakes that have occurred in Mexico. Project implementation should incorporate due diligence from the beginning. Mining companies need to focus on reducing short and long-term costs; this includes implementing good engineering practices, which in the long term represents cost-efficient facilities and operations. We should not only focus on reducing costs with cheap engineering because, in the end, that is more expensive and jeopardizes the whole industry. In my case, the main lesson learned from Mexican companies is to invest in doing the right thing from the get-go, from the studies, to the design and the operations.