Cementing Market Share Through Specialized ServicesMon, 10/22/2018 - 17:35
Mine exhaustion is making operators seek higher returns underground, and this trend is changing the needs of the industry, says Jorge González, General Manager of DSI Underground. “We see a lot more underground mines in development in comparison to what existed in the market five years ago,” he says. “Mexico will most likely have to adapt its norms to foster development of underground mines as other countries have done.”
Underground mining tends to be much more demanding, given that workers are in confined spaces and safety is critical to avoid fatalities. DSI Underground provides pieces for specialized machines more often used by international companies versus national businesses. “Our clients are mostly Canadian, such as Goldcorp, Coeur Mining and Agnico Eagle,” González says. “We do not get as much demand from Mexican companies as their projects require a higher volume of less-specialized products.”
Canadian companies often must comply with strict norms and international standards, meaning they see the value in investing in high-quality equipment. “All Canadian projects are anchored while Mexican mines only add support to their projects as they see necessary,” González says. “These companies demand complicated pieces and a wider range of products as they have to comply with many standards.” DSI can also provide training to employees to ensure the best use and installation of the pieces.
The tunnel and underground development specialist also provides products made with materials that help keep operations safe. “Many anchor systems are made from steel but this material is very vulnerable to fire,” says González. “This can be dangerous as mining operations involve dynamite and explosives. We can provide products made from plastic that may have slightly less resistance but will not make emergency situations worse, therefore cutting the downtime of the operation.”
While diversification is a strategy that can protect companies from the ebbs and flows of the mining industry, González is concerned about Mexico’s mining pipeline because changes in regulation have had an impact on investment, especially for those mines under development and extending to exploration. “Mexican operators such as Fresnillo have many new projects in their pipelines,” says González. “But on the other hand, we see that Canadian companies are not as keen to start new projects due to the changes in the mining framework.”