Conceptual Planning Leads to SuccessBy Lorenzo Núñez | Fri, 08/13/2021 - 12:01
Q: How has TAKRAF’s technologies helped mining companies adopt new standards?
A: We have seen over the years that as foreign companies invest in Mexico, they also introduce global standards. They introduce what they have learned in different countries in regard to environmental regulations and reforms, which tend to be much stricter than what we have in Mexico. It has been interesting to see how the Mexican industry has evolved over the years with the arrival of each new global standard. We have seen the mining industry adopt automation technologies with the goal of providing safer and more reliable solutions.
We are a global company with offices in 26 countries. Our products have already adopted many of these technological solutions, such as improved water management and techniques to improve efficiencies. Our equipment has evolved toward those goals and we are in the process of implementing them in Mexico.
Q: What does TAKRAF’s Zero Harm approach represent and how can mining companies be a part of that initiative?
A: Zero Harm is linked to the recovery of water and having the ability to use it in the rest of the process, aiming to minimize the environmental impact. In addition, it includes and emphasizes safety. A reliable operation is always safer, meaning that the less physical interaction between a human and a machine, the better. That is what TAKRAF’s technologies wants to achieve. With all the data gathering that we do, we are able to determine what might fail in the future. From there, we structure a plan to tackle those challenges and prevent any setbacks or any accidents that could potentially harm equipment and operators.
Q: How do TAKRAF’s DST and DELKOR solutions help mining companies reduce their water consumption and improve its management?
A: TAKRAF has been around for many years and in 2014 we integrated DELKOR, a company that has a lot of experience in liquid/solid separation and mining processes. By combining our efforts, we are able to view Dry Stack Tailings (DST) as a complete system, rather than separate pieces of equipment. This has allowed us to work with our clients, starting with the planning phase where we determine the most reasonable and effective plans. In addition, we join forces with geotechnical companies to identify the best location to place the tailings.
We bring TAKRAF Group’s full experience to a project by having a team dedicated to the research and development of new global equipment, allowing us to tailor these tailing solutions according to our clients’ specific needs. Our solutions have a range of thickeners, such as high rate, high density, paste and conventional thickeners. In addition, we offer specific filtration capabilities in the form of horizontal belt filters and filter presses. We also provide the complete material handling solution from conveyor belts to mobile trippers, mobile stacking bridges, as well as spreaders, meaning that we have all the equipment needed for all tailing processes.
Each mining operation is different. With different terrains, materials, locations and neighboring communities, so we are ready to provide options for our customers. Since we participate from the very beginning, in the conceptual phase, we can design the best method to follow. For instance, automating every conveyor belt to transport materials rather than using bulldozers.
Q: How is TAKRAF helping mining companies achieve their ESG goals?
A: It takes time to develop these types of projects but it is worth it in the end if done properly. In the case of a new mine, we visit and explore the surrounding areas. We also talk to the operators from the engineering, operations and ESG teams. We want to get to know what challenges the mine is facing. We have dealt with cases where clients want to transition to automation, which is not always an engineering task. Instead of making the compromises required to change an operation and moving personnel to different areas, we provide the complete solution where personnel work in offices monitoring the equipment. In the rare case of a fault, an operator would be introduced to fix it. So, we are also contributing to the training of local workers since they need to know how to operate their equipment. This is all planned in the conceptual phase.
Q: What will be the global standards of Mining 4.0?
A: I believe that easier and more affordable maintenance will be a global standard. As a result, mining companies will be able to speed up production while reducing downtime and improving operator safety. Our equipment may seem robust and big when you look at it but it is filled with a variety of sensors and instruments. With these, you can monitor the equipment and if there is an issue, you can analyze and fix it before it becomes a bigger problem. Just imagine a conveyor belt breaking, causing the complete disruption of the mining operation. Our technologies give you the tools to prevent that.
Q: Why should mining companies speed up their adoption of Mining 4.0 technologies and what are the critical success factors in this transformation process?
A: The belief that mining companies are old fashioned and that they are hesitant to try new technologies is outdated. Mining is the gateway to a carbon neutral future. You cannot talk about green energy without talking about mining. Right now, lithium and cobalt are considered the minerals of the future together with various others, but I believe it will continue to evolve even further. The mining industry as a result is also expected to evolve. Companies that do not adopt newer standards into their processes will most likely disappear. There are big challenges ahead with the rise in energy costs and pollution. And in an industry that relies heavily on high capital investment, companies will have to look at newer technologies to improve reliability and sustainability, such as improving water management.
Q: What are TAKRAF’s plans and objectives toward the end of the year?
A: We continue to develop newer technologies, such as our new BQR flotation cells. We definitely want to be a flagship technology company. We want the industry to think of us when considering water management and water recovery and we continue to work towards that goal.
TAKRAF Group, through its established and well-known brands, TAKRAF and DELKOR, provides innovative technological solutions to the mining and associated industries. The Group leverages its experience, acquired over more than a century, to provide equipment, systems and services that best satisfy their clients’ mining, comminution, material handling, liquid/solid separation and beneficiation requirements. Owners and operators around the world trust TAKRAF Group’s engineered solutions to lower the total cost of ownership and reduce environmental impact by improving efficiency with safe and reliable equipment.