Mexico a Strong Base for Latin American MarketsWed, 10/18/2017 - 09:49
Q: How did the 2016 rise in metal prices benefit Grupo Calidra’s business?
A: In 2016, our sales grew considerably thanks to the increase in gold and copper projects as a result of the favorable average metal prices and market demand. Due to a reluctance to launch greenfield projects, operators are focusing on maximizing production in existing mines even though the ore grade is declining. We benefit from both high demand of metals and low-grade ore because they require more lime in the processing phase. Our main customers are Grupo México, Industrias Peñoles, Minera Frisco and Goldcorp.
Lime is a versatile natural chemical because it can be used by all industries as a process aid. We supply almost all mines in Mexico, mainly gold, silver and copper extraction, so our company has a strong relationship with the mining industry. In this sector lime helps to adjust the pH in processes at levels that are more efficient and less hazardous. Our goal is to consolidate the Latin American market by 2020 and to develop our position as one of the most competitive lime producers in the world.
Q: What differentiates Grupo Calidra’s new plant in San Luis Potosi?
A: The state-of-the-art sustainable hydration plant we completed in November 2016 recovers and reuses all the water used in our process. The process is completely air sealed so there is no dust emission or steam. We already have hydration plants in Mexico but none are as efficient as this new one, which incorporates completely new technology. Emissions are reduced not only by the process itself but through a reduction in the number of trucks moving into the city of San Luis Potosi, since the plant is much closer to the quick lime kilns. This specific plant incorporates equipment and methods that are new to the country, such as transportation, discharge, dust collection and hydration technology. The process is part of our initiative on innovation and was endorsed by ITESM’s technical and feasibility studies.
All our projects and plants are financed through a wide variety of partnerships and sources. The US$8.5 million required to finance the plant in San Luis Potosi was mainly contributed by the World Bank. It only supports projects that are sustainable and environmentally friendly and we receive funds because of our ecologically friendliness. We continuously strive to find the best technology in the world to improve the quality of our processes. Our company is always willing to experiment with innovative ideas and machines to keep one step ahead of our competitors.
Q: How does Grupo Calidra promote sustainability and social responsibility?
A: Our company has a strong commitment to the environment. Lime can be used in areas with toxic residue because it stabilizes heavy metals that can contaminate water or soil. Heavy metals such as lead or arsenic and hazardous materials are combined with calcium oxide to create a harmless substance, which reduces the environmental impact by preventing the toxic metal reaching underground water sources.
To minimize our carbon footprint, we make sure the energy per ton we burn is the minimum necessary to convert calcium carbonate to calcium oxide. We also use alternative sources of renewable fuels. In Mexico, 70 percent of our energy is produced through wind power. In Argentina, we are also looking for alternative sources of heat to minimize our impact.
When it comes to our relationship with surrounding communities, we do not believe that it is a good idea to offer money. Instead, Grupo Calidra provides well-paid employment and social security to our local hires. We also pursue reforestation projects. The company collaborates with the public sector as well, providing funds or expertise to the government for sustainability projects in the community.