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Innovation, Responsibility Build Strong Mining Foundations

Cinthya Villa - GRUMINEX
Director General


Fernando Mares By Fernando Mares | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Wed, 11/15/2023 - 09:07

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Q: What are the main challenges GRUMINEX and its clients have faced when developing a mining project in the last year?
A: One of the main changes was the reform in the Mining Law, which has impacted investment and caused a slowdown in plant expansion. This affects us as an engineering firm because we focus on plant development. Simultaneously, this limits our cash flow and access to capital.  Corporations are shifting their investment to maintenance rather than expansions or modifications. As a result, GRUMINEX developed new business verticals, identifying needs that cannot be addressed solely through engineering development. These business verticals are not carried out by GRUMINEX itself, but by new companies that are part of the GRUMINEX family.

Q: In which phases of a mining project is the company mostly involved? 
A: We typically work with precious metal mines involved in the production of gold, silver, copper, zinc, and molybdenum. Occasionally, we work with polymetallic mines. Our offices are in Sonora, but we work across the country.

We handle engineering processes at every stage of production, from pre-feasibility studies to the commissioning of the processing plant. We cover earthmoving design, selection of mechanical equipment, electrical design, instrumentation, and control, among many other areas. If the client wants to, we also undertake supervision and project management.  

Q: What sets GRUMINEX apart from the competition? 
A: We align with our stakeholders’ ESG standards and other environmental policies. We embrace these standards and obtain the certifications that mining companies propose. This includes certifications related to anti-corruption policies, whistleblower channels, and social responsibility. We fully engage with our clients’ operations to truly understand their needs and address them immediately. We open the communication channel with our clients, which allows us to generate greater value in our collaborations.

We recently adopted the slogan, “GRUMINEX transforms ideas and designs solutions.” Our team consists of multidisciplinary specialists and our primary strength lies in mechanical design, which plays an important role in meeting our clients’ needs and in detecting their real capabilities. For example, clients have approached us for the installation of new equipment and, during the engineering process, we sometimes discover that the equipment they chose does not cover their needs. Our size is also an advantage, allowing us to be more flexible, make decisions faster, and adapt to changes with our clients. 

Q: How does the company remain up-to-date with the latest engineering innovations?  
A: Our team consistently undergoes training on the latest software in the market. We have also acquired scanning equipment, which allows us to be faster, more productive, and more accurate when developing projects. We previously relied on topographical surveys, which can take more time to develop and are complex. The scanning equipment has enabled our team to rapidly obtain precise, real-time information on the state of the mining site, facilitating the creation of more effective designs.

Q: How can construction management service firms help mining companies perform better in terms of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards? 
A: Collaboration is key, not only between mining and construction management service companies but also with the government and other actors. Understanding the needs of our stakeholders is crucial to our strategies, enabling us to align with ESG principles. By keeping involved in all areas of the company that we service, we can truly observe how to align with our stakeholders’ ESG strategies.

We are upholding standards and certifications for being a socially responsible company (ESR), which is aligned with the broader vision the industry is adopting. 

Q: What initiatives should the mining sector implement to improve its gender parity?  
A: Women make a significant contribution across the mining value chain. There are women leading companies but they are also working on many other essential services, such as manufacturing personal protective equipment and providing lodging and food.

Many mining units are working to minimize discrimination but there is still a significant gap, according to the International Labor Organization. Women are not here to take jobs from men; we are a part of the team. Promotions should be based on abilities. Many studies report that companies and countries with more women in decision-making roles tend to have higher incomes. Thus, the industry as a whole should pay more attention to the gender gap. 

Q: What initiatives does the company implement to improve its relationship with mining communities?  
A: Our main clients are located in remote communities, where both the mining company and its suppliers have a strong impact. During a project in which we handled all project administration, we observed that the company had failed to pay the lady providing the employees’ food. We had a conversation with our client and jointly decided to ask contractors for proof of payment for community services, and prior authorization of payments by the client, this minimized the delay in payments to the community and improved the community's relationship with our client.

Smaller suppliers are often more economically affected because they have less financing capacity, so delayed payments impact them more. These proposals help us improve our relationships with communities. Through these initiatives, we positively impact communities. 

Q: How much does the company expect to grow within the next five years?  
A: We will be a diversified group. We diversified our services following the pandemic environment and the political changes. We created a company that provides leak detection services for membranes. We are the first Mexican company to develop and offer this kind of service. We are breaking ground because people are sometimes reluctant to change their quality control parameters. We are also opening a fiberglass factory in Sonora to align with the needs of the market caused by the relocation of US supply chains. 

Grupo Minero Mexicano (GRUMINEX) provides comprehensive engineering and construction management services to the mining industry. It focuses on generating efficient and effective solutions to meet multidisciplinary needs.


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