Luis Sánchez
Country Manager
Intercore
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View from the Top

Big Enough to Meet Needs, Small Enough to Act Quickly

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 13:45

Q: Your slogan is “Excellence in Drilling.” How do you add value to the industry and ensure you deliver excellence?
A: We are a midsize company, which is part of our added value. We are big enough to meet our clients’ needs but at the same time we are not a big company with complicated and bureaucratic processes and long decision-making times. All our managers are in direct contact with our clients. We make sure to cover our clients’ necessities immediately through our 15 different equipment models and our 15 years’ experience in the Mexican mining industry. We have over US$1 million in spare parts to maintain our rigs and will even change an entire piece of equipment when required by the customer.
In short, we have all the assets needed to ensure quick response times. We have our own trucks to move our equipment so we are always available to reach sites regardless of how remote or isolated they are. This gives us control of our mobilization process, its costs and its delivery times. As for our spare parts logistics, we are distributors of Cortech and have all the pieces on consignment to be sold in Mexico. We have sold Cortech drilling rigs in Colombia, Peru, Chile and Uruguay. We have a bonded warehouse with parts coming directly from the factory that can be sent to any of the countries where we operate. We also have our own warehouse near our office in Mexico to ensure we can provide maintenance to our own rigs and those of our clients.
Q: Why did you choose to work with Cortech and what is the cost-benefit for your clients?
A: We are a drilling company and in 2009 we decided to change our equipment and started looking into several brands such as Sandvik, Boart Long Year and Christensen. But we found that many of those brands had higher costs for the equipment and their spare parts and delivery times were up to five times longer. We chose Cortech, a Chinese manufacturing company, because it uses universal components in its machines, such as Cummins motors, that are reliable and have accessible maintenance levels. Cortech’s prices are half those of its competition and the delivery time is one month. We have even sold to other drilling companies in Mexico. There are many companies that are willing to exchange parts or equipment and we have focused on building bonds with our peers in the sector. As we have used Cortech for a long time and witnessed its benefits, we can provide potential customers with trial periods to ascertain performance because we know that we can back up our equipment.
Q: To what extent is it possible to innovate in the drilling process and how is Intercore achieving this?
A: Our rigs were designed in China. Chinese companies are always looking at how to innovate and while the process of drilling remains almost the same, there are details to focus on to improve the design’s safety. For example, implementing hydraulic arms so there is no need to move the rigs manually.
All the rigs we have sold or bought are diamond drilling rigs. There is a multipurpose Reverse Circulation (RC) model. It has a hydraulic hammer that hits the ground and yields a powder-like sample, allowing faster advances with fewer expenses. The cost for a meter of RC can be half that of diamond drilling but the information you get out of the sample is less reliable. Diamond drilling is more expensive and slower than RC but allows geologists to see where the vein goes and what kind of geological structure it has. Around 80-90 percent of the drilling in Mexico is done using these diamond drilling methods.
We are working closely with Minera Autlán and with some junior companies such as Minera Fumarola. In the past, we collaborated with Fresnillo and many other key players in the industry. Intercore is looking into new projects and the man-portable rig is an innovation opening doors. To ensure that our operations are as sustainable as possible, we are committed to getting the best profit from the resources we employ. Drilling is a water-intensive activity, so we recirculate and reuse water. While our rigs are hydraulic, they are full of seals and if one fails, oil can be spilled. We place a special absorbent under the rig with plastic below so nothing goes into the soil.