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Minfort Strives to Be Key Ally for Underground Operations

By Karin Dilge | Fri, 05/27/2022 - 13:42

Q: How has the company adapted during the pandemic to ensure it continues to deliver solutions efficiently?

A: At the beginning of the pandemic, we experienced many problems, especially with suppliers. Based on a business study, we found that to solve these problems we needed to increase our inventory to become more independent and able to satisfy the needs of our customers. Our strategy also involved establishing better communication with consumers.

Thankfully, the temporary closure of the US-Mexico border did not hinder Minfort’s efforts, since it did not affect the export and import of products. Our main problem was shipping, especially when coming from the US, South Africa, Spain or Peru, as there were insufficient containers and workers available. Therefore, the amount of material that arrived fell short of expectations. We went from requiring one or two containers to needing six to eight. This caused a lag in our delivery time, doubling or tripling the usual two-month delivery period. During the pandemic, we started stocking extra inventory to ensure that customers had a prompt solution in case an issue arose.

Q: What sets Minfort apart from others that provide similar solutions to the mining industry?

A: We offer monthly on-site maintenance for all small and medium-size customers. In addition, we have a team of excellent engineers who assist in mine reviews to ensure that the product works well and meets the customer’s requirements. Our customers really appreciate this support, which comes free of charge. Minfort also provides training to its clients. Our main objective is for clients to feel comfortable using our solutions, so we work to transmit all our knowledge to them.

Q: How does the company ensure the durability of its products?

A: Our business is installing rock bolts in underground mining operations to support the rock structure. Our products last longer than other offers because we take samples on our visits to ensure that our materials continue to function well. If all is well, we send a report to our clients so they know everything is fine and they can continue working as usual. However, if not, we then decide if the bolt can be fixed or if we need to install a new one.

Q: How does your offer help improve the safety of mining operations?

A: In underground operations, it is key to choose the best rock bolt to support the structure. If we do not supply the correct bolt, clients cannot continue their work safely. Consequently, we need to have a variety of solutions on hand that can be adapted to the client's needs.

On some occasions, we work together with clients to determine the best approach. However, clients mostly send us their requirements. We review these, ask for more information if necessary and make an informed decision. In the case of Mexico, the geology of most of the mining sites is similar, so the requirements are often similar. However, this situation may change within the next three years, as deeper drilling work will take place, meaning the industry will require different rock bolt solutions.

Q: What are the company's short-term expansion plans?

A: We plan to expand our business in southwestern and northwestern Mexico by the end of the year. Minford’s strategy remains to find great clients and build a good relationship with them. We are also open to the possibility of expanding and installing new facilities. Last year, the company started to implement this business model in Guerrero, where we hope to have an office by the end 2022. We are still evaluating whether we will continue with the same model for our expansion plans in Sonora in 2023.

 

Minfort is a Mexican company specialized in the production and commercialization of reinforcement and support products for the mining industry.

Karin Dilge Karin Dilge Journalist and Industry Analyst