Cynthia Villa
General Manager
GRUMINEX
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GRUMINEX: Tailor-Made Engineering Plans for Miners

By Alejandro Ehrenberg | Fri, 07/31/2020 - 11:33

Q: What added value does Gruminex provide to its clients in the mining industry?

A: As a multidisciplinary engineering firm, we add value by undertaking mechanical design and then defining the best equipment for bringing each particular project to fruition. Our main expertise lies in adequations or modifications of mineral processing plants. Our know-how in mechanical design allows us to tailor engineering plans for each client, depending on their particular needs. To determine this, we carry out a detailed analysis of the type of mineral processing that best suits their operations. The first step usually is mechanical design. From there, we go on to design other engineering areas like concrete, structural and electrical. We have commercial alliances with other companies, too. Our relationship with Grico, for example, strengthens our ability to do electrical projects. This is not our expertise, so we go to them whenever the client requires that we include an electrical grid when drafting the design. 

Q: How is COVID-19 impacting your operations?

A: We have been able to resist the pandemic because most of our work is design, which can be done remotely. However, when the time comes to implement our designs, the restrictions related to COVID-19 affect us. We are limited in supervising our projects as the number of staffs allowed on the site is restricted. The key phase of work where we need to be present is the beginning. Afterwards, our presence is not so necessary and we have devised ways of working remotely.

The rest of 2020 will be challenging, but we'll make up for it by focusing on pre-engineering or basic engineering design. We have already received some new scopes to design water channels, focused on acidic water with suspended solids for neutralization and control before discharging into the stream.

Q: How does Gruminex deploy its expertise at the extraction stage of a project?

A: Normally, the mine is in charge of the mineral extraction process, be it an open pit or underground mine, and takes it to where the mineral processing begins. We start from this point, applying our engineering skills and experiences in the design of material handling equipment. The client and us Together define the appropriate process and required for the mineral depending on its physical properties. Dry process where crushing, screening, and material handling are a function of the size required to transition to the wet cyclone pulp grinding, screening, pumping, and separator process, then continue with the flotation, separation, thickening, and pumping process sludge. There are different processes to extract the minerals and they depend on the physical and chemical properties of the same, for example, for gold and silver by cyanidation in leaching tanks, or by leaching in tanks with forced agitation. Actually, the industry has different technologies and special equipment that could be used in each required process, depending on the budget available to carry out a project.

Q: In which other areas of processing have you solved persistent issues?

A: Conveyor belts are a crucial piece of equipment that can present problems for changes on the process. The main problems are usually the result of capacity, inclination and engine power. Since Gruminex is not committed to any brand or supplier, we can assemble the best conveyor belt that the specific project needs, based on a rigorous analysis of design and mechanical engineering involved on the changes. We can go to one supplier for the belt and another for the transmission, bearings and rollers. The result will be a conveyor belt perfectly adapted to the specific needs of the project.

Q: What value do you add in tailings management?

A: We focus on monitoring the quality control of a tailings dam. We do geotechnical, hydraulic and hydrological studies. Our leak control system adheres to the cyanide code, we work for leak detection in geomembranes. We certify that the geomembranes are leak free. Leaks mean losses for the company and harm to the environment. They can happen for many different reasons, like a tool falling or a vehicle moving on top of the membrane. With respect to tailings, we are more involved in managing the project than in developing the engineering plan.

Q: What success story highlights Gruminex’s expertise?

A: We have been collaborating with First Majestic for three years now on the AG/SAG conversion of its grinding system at Santa Elena Unit. The company is changing for a SAG mill system, which can accomplish the same size reduction work as two or three stages of crushing and screening. SAG mills grinding the material directly to the desired final size or prepare it for the following stages of separation, and are often used in grinding at modern mineral processing plants. We are doing the engineering for the project and already it is on construction stage. Another success is the nitrate ammonium plant for Hanka Industrial Company. Our engineering for that project is a reference in Latin America.

Grupo Minero Mexicano (GRUMINEX) is a strategic services company dedicated to the provision of comprehensive engineering and construction management services (ECM) to the mining industry, focused on generating efficient and effective solutions to multidisciplinary needs.

Alejandro Ehrenberg Alejandro Ehrenberg Journalist and Industry Analyst

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