Ángel Pedraza
Country Manager Mexico
View from the Top

Chemical Solutions to Optimize Mining Operations

By Peter Appleby | Tue, 04/13/2021 - 11:37

Q: What does Solenis offer the Mexican mining sector and how does it plan to strengthen the market?

A: In the mining industry, we are focusing on liquid-solid separation solutions, such as anti-scaling and corrosion controls. Recently, the company merged with BASF’s paper and water chemicals business. In addition, we acquired a Mexican company that was our distributor last year and thanks to this purchase, we have expanded our manufacturing capacity in the country. Currently, our Mexico City plant manufactures products for the mining industry; however, we have to request products from other Solenis plants in Houston and Brazil to supply the Mexican mining market. Although the merger and acquisition relate to other industries, they have an indirect impact on our mining market because they have increased our manufacturing capacity and the facilities that will be used to produce new mining products in Mexico.

Q: How does the company ensure that clients are getting optimal results?

A: First, we need to understand our clients’ needs. Next, we meet with the client to understand the problem and then we offer the best solutions to address that problem.  For example, we developed a new anti-scaling solution, which is the only product that controls scaling in low PH situations. For liquid-solid separation, we offer a variety of polymers to provide the best solution. We also developed a special chemical that changes the rheology of the pulp, which moves with a high level of concentration due to the viscosity modifier. We developed this in Jamaica and we are now trying to implement it in other sites because sometimes companies do not have enough water. To save water, we need to concentrate the solids and modify their rheology. We deliver the exact solutions our customers need because our technology measures the performance of the product to determine the quantity the company will require. For example, with scaling, we developed equipment to measure the scaling process. When companies can control that, they can control the amount of chemicals they will use.

Q: How has Solenis adapted to the new reality caused by the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: For us, the most important factor is safety. We provided the appropriate equipment to protect our workers and developed a sanitary plan for our workplaces. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have been having a hard time continuing their projects, which in itself is a testament to how much the mining industry has been affected. However, the company believes the situation will improve and we will continue to offer our services to the industry. Solenis’ team is now implementing our solutions online, where we can measure data, such as the behavior of our chemicals, in different locations. Since the pandemic started, we have incorporated new technologies into our services. Our goal is to create a platform that will allow us to solve companies’ problems more efficiently.

Q: How does Solenis demonstrate its commitment to environmental security?

A: We are a green company and we are aligned with the Mexican environmental requirements. Solenis has achieved the Gold Recognition Level for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) performance by EcoVadis, a collaborative platform providing sustainability ratings and performance improvement tools for global supply chains. This is the second year in a row in which the company attained Gold Status.

Q: What are your growth targets for 2021?

A: We are focused on creating new alliances and increasing our market share. We are interested in working with large mining companies, such as Peñoles and Grupo México. Previously, we were working with Grupo México with viscosity modifiers; however, it suspended the project because it needed to control the situation inside the plant. This year, we are trying to get this project back. The company is very successful with Canadian and American investors in Mexico; however, we still need to strengthen our position in the mining market among Mexican investors. We are also planning to increase our presence in other industries such as paper, petrochemicals and hydrocarbons. We believe these industries and the mining sector represent our most important opportunities for growth. For the company, innovation is essential for developing new projects, so we are working with mathematical models and platforms to increase the efficiency of our products, processes and plants.

Solenis is a leading specialty chemical company and provider of process and water solutions. The company's product portfolio includes a broad array of process aids, water treatment chemistries, functional additives and monitoring and control systems.

Peter Appleby Peter Appleby Journalist and Industry Analyst