Anticipating Demand and Training: a Strategy for ReliabilityThu, 10/17/2019 - 13:27
Q: What was Maza Drilling’s learning curve like when it ventured into the Mexican mining market and what are the company’s growth plans?
A: I started to think about founding the company in 2004 while I was working for another drilling company and saw that exploration investment in Mexico was booming. This opportune moment allowed me to jump in and buy my first machine but I did not count on beginners’ luck as a river took my entire operation away. I tried again, confident because I was in the market, and bought another machine the next week. My company has grown ever since and now it owns 17 machines. We operate in Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Zacatecas and Coahuila.
As for the future, I believe the key to our competitivity lies in the diversity of drilling types. While diamond drilling is our core business, we want to expand to reverse circulation because we see a demand in the market for this type of perforation, which is very fast. We will also continue with diamond drilling, which requires less equipment, is very precise and allows deeper drilling. The Mexican market also lacks raise boring equipment.
My ultimate goal, which is also a mindset, is to stop looking for clients and work and have clients reach out to us instead because we provide a perfect service. Our clients already request price quotes for their projects and our goal is to provide prices that are competitive for both the company and the client. I call the industry to keep investing in exploration and to continue betting on Mexico’s potential.
Q: What are the most decisive factors allowing companies to resume or launch drill programs on their projects?
A: Financing is first, as it is the key to open projects for exploration companies. Having access to the project itself is another delicate factor to consider because dealing with ejidos can be complicated. It is important to focus on developing healthy communication between the landowner, the ejido community, the exploration company and the drilling partner. In this case, our strategy is to employ a percentage of locals to incentivize trust and acceptance in the community. While locals may not have all the technical knowledge to operate the machines, they can assist with many tasks and learn in the process. I have operators who started as assistants a couple of years ago and now operate rigs.
When talking about launching drilling programs, one must think like an exploration company. They want to hire a drilling company that can complete projects on time, quality and budget. We ensure this by teaching and training our people, so we have the right supervisional and problem-solving structure to guarantee that the project will go exactly as planned.
We also rely on our customer’s feedback to accomplish these goals. We strive to provide a quality service, with good pricing and are respectful of security and the environment; but the client is always the most important factor for us. We have worked with Coeur Mining, especially at the Palmarejo gold-silver complex in Chihuahua, where we have been present for four years, Excellon Resources, American Silver Corporation, the former Scorpio Mining, Evrim Resources and Great Panther Silver.
Q: How do you choose the equipment you work with and why are your brands the best for Maza Drilling and its clients?
A: Reliability. This not only means that the equipment is well-built and durable but that it is supported by good technical service. For example, I own a Hydracore machine that experienced some failures; less than a week later, our provider had a technician come from Canada to solve the issue. In the end, it is our experience with any given equipment that will determine if we work with it again. I have machines that are over 12 years old and they work well because of proper maintenance.