Diana Catarino
Manager for Mexico and Central America
View from the Top

Finding Mining Solutions with Newer Technologies

By Paloma Duran | Tue, 06/15/2021 - 10:17

Q: How does IMDEX help the mining industry to continually improve its productivity, costs, efficiency and safety?

A: Our unique end-to-end solutions for the mining value chain integrates IMDEX's leading AMC and REFLEX brands. Together they enable clients to drill faster and smarter, obtain accurate subsurface data and receive critical information in real-time. At IMDEX, we develop drilling optimization products and sensors to provide real-time rock knowledge and quality data, some of our solutions are drilling fluids, instrumentation on downhole navigation, software, the IQ-LOGGER, which really differentiate us. The IQ-logger starts with structural logging and from there we move to a software step where we help our clients to not only collect data, but also analyze and model the data to make the decisions in real time.

Q: What are some of the main problems mining companies have when drilling and how does IMDEX help them drill faster and smarter?

A: One of the main problems is deviation. We help our clients to align their rigs in minutes, rather than hours by using our TN14; with our solutions, clients are able to set up and align multiple rigs in the less time and they can be 100% sure that they’re starting to drill in the right direction. Another advantage we had over competitors during the pandemic was that our equipment could be monitored remotely. When the pandemic hit the industry, people was working long shifts to avoid rotation and access to the mines was restricted for suppliers, but with our equipment already in place and the ability to remotely push and retrieve data, it worked as an opportunity to show what we could do.

Q: Why is IQ-LOGGER a benchmark for structural logging of a diamond drill core?

A: This is a one-of-a-kind product. Instead of sending many core samples, you take a significant one. This means you save a great deal of time and the results are turned in rapidly. It does a lot of things for a mining company. On site, you save a great deal of money by not having to send many samples. It also has its own software that is connected directly to our IMDEXHUB-IQ cloud. In our cloud, clients are also able to connect the navigational instruments, as well as their structural loggings. With this information, we can start the modeling process. Our philosophy with these solutions is to step away from focusing on one item at a time. Instead, our solutions tie everything together, which saves our clients time and money.

Q: What features make IMDEXHUB-IQ more accurate and reliable in accessing data in real time compared to other options on the market?

A: The biggest differentiator is that IMDEX achieved certification for Information Security Management standard ISO/IEC 27001:2013 for the different intelligence solutions, software development processes, instrumentation, mining tools and equipment, including the development of products and customer support processes. This includes our IMDEXHUB-IQ for which once the data has been collected and handed to the client, it cannot be modified, altered or deleted. This guarantees the user that the logging is exactly what is happening in their operations. In the past, the logging was recorded by hand and when passed from hand to hand, information might have been lost. This has changed overtime and we are very proud of the effectiveness of our system.

Q: What are the key innovations IMDEX has developed to increase on-site safety?

A: Connectivity is key in a mining operation. When the company decides to not involve a human operator in dangerous activities, you are already saving yourself from potential risk. If you can have the operator remotely monitor the operations via our solution sets, that gives you real-time accurate information and you move the operator to a different area, you save that person from exposure to potential safety hazards. This is where we come in. We focus our software and development of our instruments on this connectivity goal. We enhance safety via automation.

Q: What is the company's commitment to sustainable and responsible mining and how is it promoting these practices within the sector?

A: We have a suite of products such as bio-degradable drilling fluids and we help clients improving operational efficiencies to reduce wastage and consumption, one example is our equipment Solids Removal Unit (SRU) helping the industry on this front. It enables a smaller site footprint, lower contamination, and safety risks, reduces water usage by up to 70% and our newest units will also include the connected system for remote management. The  way it works is that when you are on site, instead of having to take a huge space for sumps to clean the fluids, you have this equipment that does that job for you and much more in a fraction of the time. It is continuously recycling and reusing water, while at the same time cleaning the drilling fluids. Our SRU solutions allow for an easier disposal of the solids resulting from production. The end result is that when the equipment is removed from the site, there is very minimum site footprint, environmental residue or damage, despite being used on a daily basis.

Q: How is the company working to improve its solutions and their uses?

A: We are getting more involved in the productivity of an operation, not only in drilling but the production itself. We are also participating in the Construction and HDD industries. At the same time, we are diversifying our drilling fluids as well as our tools. We are always pushing to improve our solutions.

Q: How has the mining sector progressed from low-tech to highly innovative?

A: I believe that the progression had been very slow for quite a few years but in the last three years, the industry has picked up the pace by starting to do things differently. The industry is beginning to look at connectivity, productivity, precision, QA/QC and financial savings as crucial elements of their operations. I believe that this will continue to be explored for many years.

Q: How real is Mining 4.0 in Mexico and how can this be further developed?

A: For Mining 4.0 to happen, you will need to have a great technical support service team. Although the goal is to have most processes automatized and connected, it will still require supervision. We must continue as an industry to improve our operations and drilling optimization, as well as other areas of mining. I believe that 35 percent of the Mexican mining industry is already part of the smart mining wave, mainly due to the adoption of other countries’ technologies.

IMDEX is a leading global mining-tech company that enables successful and cost-effective operations, from exploration to production. IMDEX develops cloud-connected devices and drilling optimization products to improve the process of identifying and extracting mineral resources for drilling contractors and international resource companies.

Paloma Duran Paloma Duran Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst