Alberto Mendoza
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Innovation, Business, Development: Key Goals for Regional Cluster

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 12:22

Q: What are the cluster’s principal responsibilities and activities?
A: The cluster was formed to direct collaboration between mining companies, suppliers, academic institutions and governmental institutions at both state and federal levels. The end goal was to attract more investment, stimulate consolidation and introduce more suppliers providing the right services and quality standards. At the root of this idea is the development of a new culture of innovation. In our search for more suppliers, our focus is on those that provide services such as maintenance, telecommunication, lab-based analysis, exploration and construction of mine infrastructure. Our cluster dedicates much of its activities to innovation, developing businesses, attracting new businesses and promoting sustainable methods. This is done by working with parties across the whole industrial chain. We have four committees that oversee distinct areas: development of suppliers; human talent; safety, health and environment; and innovation and technology. In each area we establish an objective, a strategy and a range of activities. Each committee has a president, an assistant and a network of collaborators. The participants do so in an honorary role and come from our member companies. The advantage of these committees is that they facilitate the interchange of expertise and ideas between different members. Topics that have been covered include health indicators, business development options for suppliers, implementation of quality standards, better communication between companies and improved construction methods. We have also worked with academic institutions to provide training and certifications to new talent in diverse areas related to mining and mining services.
Q: What are the objectives of the cluster’s alliances with academic institutions?
A: We have formed alliances with universities and independent centers that have programs specifically dedicated to mining. We collaborate with various universities and we exchange details of our experiences and learn from each other’s programs. One of the principal areas is training and certification, in which we have rapidly expanded our activities over the last few years. We now have 80 training programs at CLUSMIN, with 475 people from mining companies and suppliers participating in trainings and meetings in a month. The topics vary, from managerial skills and business improvement measures to supervising operations at a site. Over 200 supervisors have now been trained with us. Some of these training programs are conducted in collaboration with regional educational and scientific institutes. With IPN, we held a congress on rock mechanics and organized training related to occupational health. We also designed a course with the school on metallurgy. The structure of this course is three weeks of classes and one week in the field. The great benefit of doing it at our cluster is that the teacher actually joins the participants during their work period at the mine. After concluding the program, the students spend one year at a mining unit and rotate. In collaboration with ITAM, we organize courses on consolidation and business management. Last year, we worked with Business Sweden and the Technology University of the State of Zacatecas (UTZAC) to devise plans to set up a training center under the name Swiss Mining Academy in Zacatecas, or Academia Sueca de Mineria en Zacatecas. The principal goal of this center will be to train students in the technology used by Swedish companies.
Q: What are the cluster’s plans for the Compatible Mining Center (CMC)?
A: This initiative is a product of a collaboration between CONACYT, COZCyT and CLUSMIN. The project is funded by a mixed fund from CONACYT and is planned to begin operations in late 2020. Once built, it will form a new space for research and development in the areas of environment, health, safety and metallurgy. It will include special laboratories for each of these areas. Our members and potential new parties will conduct activities such as testing technological innovations that reduce impact on the environment, developing better conditions for mining employees, and devising new ways to pursue dialogue between mining companies and local communities.