Human Capital Makes the DifferenceThu, 10/17/2019 - 12:14
In a traditional mining state like Sonora, local explosive manufacturers and blasting companies need an edge to come out on top. Enrique Guinea, Director General of Hanka, says human capital can be the determining factor when competing against global giants. “While our competitors exceed us in size and world coverage, we level the playing field with service and human capital,” he says. “We have focused on training our people to solve complex problems through practical and effective solutions in short time frames.”
This strategy has led Hanka to add consultancy to its arsenal. Guinea explains that in other mining jurisdictions like Chile mining companies tell blasting providers what they want, but in Mexico operators are much more open to advice. “In Mexico, companies come to us to consult our experience on how to improve their processes, rather than just to buy explosives,” he says. “We provide personalized attention and tailor-made solutions through our specialized and service-oriented staff.”
In many cases, Hanka has solved a diverse range of fragmentation problems for different mines. Through controlled and well-monitored blasting programs, Hanka has helped save and improve both crushing and milling costs, always with a focus on maintaining an efficient and environmentally-sound delivery. “We have several success stories where, in a short period of time, we remedied some operational issues using a collaborative/partnership approach, using the mine’s technical people and blasting crews and our team and expertise, to improve and manage a safer and more efficient operation,” Guinea says.
Hanka offers a broad variety of services that enable its customers to put explosives to better use. “We saw these gaps in the blasting sector and focused on filling them to help our clients,” Guinea says. For example, few service providers addressed the explosives permitting required by the Ministry of Defense, which soon became a generalized hurdle for mine operators. Hanka stepped in with advice and support as an added value to its blasting services and at no extra cost. “This has become part of the solutions package that we offer all our partners,” he adds.
Referring to its customers as partners is important for Guinea. “Our goal is to achieve a collaborative work dynamic with our clients,” he explains. “In all the projects in which we have worked, we have achieved a close collaboration with the mining company.” Guinea adds that trust is the foundation for achieving this goal. “Absolute trust and loyalty cannot be bought; you need to build it from the ground up together with your partner, enabling the team to work in synergy, symmetry and harmony.”
“Hanka is working with the most important open-pit mines in the northwestern region,” he says. “But we always keep an eye open for new projects. When exploration expense deductions are finally re-established on a yearly basis, exploration, the base for all mine operation startups, will flourish again.” While Guinea believes this particular fiscal imposition is excessive, he says that taxes have indeed succeeded in providing improvements for many mining communities.
Safety is always the most important factor to Hanka’s operation. “It is our working license. We strongly believe that all accidents are preventable,” Guinea says. “Fair and equitable business is another must for all our operations. We will never compromise on our ethics and compliance standards.” As Technical Ammonium Nitrate (TAN) is a hazardous material, Hanka has created its own manual for the safe handling and management of the product, with YARA’s assistance. YARA is the world’s largest manufacturer of Ammonia, the fundamental raw material for TAN production. “We have a TAN storage facility in Empalme, Sonora — very close to the Port of Guaymas — that we transform into explosive agents and emulsions,” Guinea explains. Hanka started operations at its explosive emulsion plant, located near the rural community of San Bartolo in the Hermosillo municipality, four years ago, complementing its operation with its partner’s TAN plants in Sweden, Norway and Germany.
Despite the heavy competition, Hanka has persevered, celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2018. “It took us four years to make our first sale but we have faith in our country, trust our interdisciplinary team and our great partners. The mining potential in Mexico is immense,” Guinea says.