Oscar Gaviño
General Manager
Grupo Necaxa
View from the Top

Leveraging Extensive Experience in Vertical Shaft Construction

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 13:24

Q: After a long history of working with Fresnillo, what were the key steps that allowed Grupo Necaxa to find new business opportunities?

A: Grupo Necaxa has worked continuously with Grupo BAL, starting with the Fresnillo mine in 1984 and later on with Peñoles in the Sabinas and Milpillas mines. Throughout these years we have successfully developed three vertical shaft models, with RV-57 being the most recent, before we decided to seize the opportunity presented by the mining boom to diversify our client base in 2010. We ventured into both national and international markets, particularly targeting Canadian and American companies. Grupo Necaxa is a strong engineering and development company, with unique skills in the construction of vertical shafts, and our commercial team was rapidly able to prove to different mining companies, such as First Majestic at La Parrilla and Del Toro, that we are the best choice. We are Fresnillo’s oldest contractor and we have always had the financial security and construction expertise to accompany expansions, and assure that production at our clients’ assets can continue uninterrupted. The company has always exceeded its clients’ requirements in terms of quality, service and safety, starting with Fresnillo’s main shaft, and continuing with all clients. We are proud that, since 1983, Grupo Necaxa has not had any fatalities.

Q: What enables your company to provide the highest quality service, and what types of creative solutions do you offer to help the industry address operational challenges?

A: Our people are our core asset, and our development plans and training programs help the company to maintain people with over 30 years of experience, which in turn attracts mining companies to come to us for advice. In Angangueo, for example, the client requested different construction processes, one of them being an emergency staircase in a vertical shaft, with 3m resting points between transportation points. After explaining the risks, we designed a zigzag structure with resting points every 1.5m, which made it easier to see and to keep the space clear.

We did a simple but creative job for First Majestic, which consisted of installing a sliding structure that redirected the material as the shaft was deepened, allowing them to continue working with the Robbins raise boring machine and reach a depth of 470m. Peñoles and Fresnillo have both relied on our experience for years. In 1990 Grupo Necaxa developed a rail transportation system at Fresnillo’s main production line at a depth level of 695m, which just recently First Majestic has used on its La Parrilla project. Generally speaking, one of the most challenging situations that we face is the “blinded vertical shaft”, where we are not sure whether we will find water or caves. In such cases development begins at the base of the Galloway, 2m from the bottom of the shaft. We once encountered an opening of water that was releasing water at a rate of 20 gallons per second, making it impossible to continue and dangerous for the workers. The first thing we did was to create a pumping system that pumps water from the bottom of the shaft up into side deposits until it reaches the surface. Although accumulation was no longer an issue, we then had to cover the shaft with concrete rings and install hose strips that were also interconnected to the pumping system.

Q: How is technology helping Grupo Necaxa to outperform its competitors, and what advantages does your procurement strategy bring for your clients?

A: Grupo Necaxa has advanced in the area of technology by creating strategic alliances with Atlas Copco and Fresnillo, for both state of the art technology and technological support and advice. Thanks to our rehabilitation workshops we are able to adapt current technology, such as scooptrams, jumbos, low profile trucks or even pickup trucks, to any type of working environment. Grupo Necaxa has strategic price agreements with cement and steel suppliers, allowing the company to offer its customers stable prices, which allows our clients to project their operating costs with certainty.

Q: Given the large number of exploration projects in the mining district of San Luis Potosi, what opportunities do you expect to present themselves in the coming years?

A: We have worked with the region’s leading mines, such as Minera San Xavier, Mexichem, Charcas, and IMMSA, and we are looking forward to seeing the Real de Catorce project become a reality for First Majestic. We are also confident that other new projects will start flourishing in the next five to seven years.