Carlos Flores
Vice President, Latin America
Leonardo Martínez
Leonardo Martínez
Business Development Manager
View from the Top

Lower Grades Create Market Opportunity

Fri, 06/01/2018 - 17:39

Q: With prices on an upward curve in 2016, how has that affected the demand for your products?

CF: The NAFTA region has continued to experience steady sodium cyanide demand growth and remains a significant net importer, despite the drop in mining activity. Over the last several years, Asian suppliers have increasingly supplemented supplies from NAFTA producers to meet growing regional demand. Sales volume is growing despite there being fewer operating mines in existence. In the future, as the gold price improves and mining companies become more efficient, the Americas region will continue to expand even more rapidly.

Q: What role does Mexico play in the global demand for sodium cyanide?

LM: Mexico is the second-largest consumer of cyanide in the world. According to the Ministry of Economy’s website, Mexico transitioned from importing 83,000 tons five years ago, to an annualized rate of almost 135,000 tons in 2016. In a short amount of time, demand for sodium cyanide has steadily increased while gold production has only grown slightly over the same period. Even though there are fewer producing mines in the world, Mexico’s need for sodium cyanide has bridged the gap in demand. If tomorrow the gold price returned to 2011 highs and mines starting reopening and new projects were developed, I would not be surprised to see cyanide shortages in the market.

CF: There are a few factors that have helped our company remain a global leader in a changing market. For instance, lower grade ores; for a company to continue producing the same amount of gold with lower grade ore, it needs to increase its ore processing and cyanide intensity. Our company focuses on bringing the cyanide supplyreplenishment point closer to the customer and we are willing to invest in active mining districts to accomplish this goal. We started in Winnemucca, Nevada, where we built a world-class manufacturing facility near the heart of the Carlin Trend, shortening transit time and reducing transportation costs. In this area, we deliver a 30 percent sodium cyanide solution that is ready to use and requires no human contact for processing/dissolving by the miningcompany. We manage customer tank levels via telemetry and make continuous shipments 24/7/365.

Q: How can your products and services benefit mining companies?

CF: Many large mines that consume large amounts of sodium cyanide, upwards of 3,000t/y, have been using sodium cyanide packed in a box that holds only 1 ton of material. This requires extensive handling of material and hazardous waste-box disposal. It is also time consuming for mining personnel. We have designed stainless steel containers that can hold up to 18 tons and can be offloaded safely and more efficiently.

LM: This alternative may require a slightly higher capital investment but it saves the user the need to dedicate human resources and assets to dissolving 1 ton of sodium cyanide briquettes at a time. It completely eliminates the generation of hazardous waste containing sodium cyanide.

CF: We want to help our clients use cyanide more efficiently and safely, even if that means they buy less product from us. This is the goal of our applied technology group: to maximize the efficacy of the cyanide used and to reduce cyanide waste. The first step was to introduce product (solution) and packaging (ISO containers) that were both more efficient and safer than the current offering in Mexico. The second step in our expansion strategy is to bring our clients the Sodium Cyanide Control System (CCS). The system will give our users better control of cyanide dosing by taking real-time samples and continuously adjusting up or down automatically as needed. This reduces underdosing, which results in loss of gold recovery or overdosing, which results in wasted cyanide and possibly leaching unwanted metals. We want to help our customers use the right amount of cyanide.