Javier Prados González
General Manager
Normet Mexico
View from the Top

Finnish Philosophy for Underground Mining

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 13:29

Q: How has Normet’s distribution partner in Mexico – Túneles y Minas – been able to break into the Mexican mining sector?

A: The person running Túneles y Minas is a mining engineer who has worked very hard to become one of our official distributors. The company’s extensive experience working on mining projects has helped significantly to effectively network in the sector. His experience in underground operations, combined with his knowledge of our products, made it easier to open the market for our technologies. The quality of our machines, the price of our equipment, and the delivery times are all very competitive; this has certainly also contributed to our distributor’s excellent sales record.

The key element that helped Normet’s consolidation in the mining sector is our experience in processes such as concrete spraying, charging and scaling. All of our workers are experts in these matters, from how the concrete should be produced to the different techniques for applying it in underground operations. Normet has also developed other lines of the business, such as additives for concrete mixtures and anchors for mine galleries.

Q: How are Normet’s modular platforms designed to suit a variety of surface challenges?

A: All of our products are designed to comply with international quality standards, and our machines can be adapted to operate in any environment. We have over 3,000 options for customizing our machines, depending on the specific needs of the operator, and they can be adapted to any geological conditions, such as the machines we recently sold to Endeavour Silver that will be used in the company’s Guanajuato operations. We are an international machinery provider and we have learned that every country presents different topography challenges; in order to contribute to the global mining sector we need to develop machinery that can be adapted to different operating conditions.

Q: What is Normet’s approach to effective maintenance?

A: Many mining companies in Mexico have invested in workshops, tools and highly qualified personnel, making it more difficult to sell a complete range of services. This is not only the case for Normet, but also for many other companies that have shared their experiences in getting full service contracts with us. Mines are independent units; they operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so they must be able to solve any problems. Our main objectives are to convince our customers that we have the right people and workshops to meet their every need.

Q: What is Normet’s strategy to training its personnel, and how does this add value for the company?

A: I have never seen a company that cares more about training its personnel than Normet. We have developed a training program that takes place three times a year, in which we gather people from our operations around the world and place them in training programs in different cities around the world. Every technician we hire is sent for a week to Finland or Chile to receive thorough training. Normet has also started an online academy where people working for the organization, or even clients, can study courses to improve their knowledge in specific areas. It is our priority to make sure companies that purchase our equipment have the knowledge that allows them to perform at their optimal level.

Q: How are current global trends impacting technology in this industry?

A: Increasingly stringent safety regulations are one of the biggest trends right now. In some markets, such as the US or Europe, diesel machines are banned. For these types of countries electric engines are being used, so some customers in Mexico are now also requesting this type of technology, and Normet has certain technologies that allow our machines to be independent from the mine’s energy source.

Normet has an outstanding research institute in Finland, where our engineers focus all of their efforts on designing the safest machines on the market. Security is one of our main priorities; we always look to design equipment that complies with safety regulations around the world, and we are continuously looking to understand the needs of our customers, so that we can deliver the best technology possible.