Carlos Silva
Director General
Carrizal Mining
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View from the Top

Operator Puts CSR at the Heart Of Mining

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 13:11

Q: As the Mexican mining industry becomes increasingly international, what are the main challenges that companies in the sector face?
A: Before the year 2000, the mining industry here was predominantly Mexican. It was not until 2003 that foreign companies started to enter Mexico and they have added a new perspective to the sector. The transition has not always been easy and we need to strengthen the leadership skills at both international and Mexican mining companies. The industry is also struggling to maintain its strong family values. Before the sector became more global, Mexican operators often invested in developing neighborhoods close to the mines so employees could bring their families with them. But it is no longer as common for miners to take their families to projects that are in remote areas and companies are no longer investing in developing nearby neighborhoods. Miners used to work six days a week and rest one. Since their families were close to the mines, they were able to dedicate this day to spending time with their loved ones and to see them at least once a week. But now miners work 20 days in a row and rest 20. Due to the family structures in remote areas, often mothers must take care of the family alone for 20 days at a time. Now, Carrizal Mining is contracting families rather than employees for 20 days at a time. As a result, our productivity is better and the families are extremely happy onsite.
Q: What have been the main results of the organizational changes Carrizal Mining implemented?
A: In 2013, we decided to internally change our focus because the company was in a weaker financial position. Thanks to these changes our company has enjoyed a steady rise in profitability over the past three years. 2017 was a great year but prices did not reach the levels we saw in 2012. To keep profit levels up, we had to increase productivity and efficiency. We also went back to the basics and focused on acquiring a team imbued with values that align with those of the company, such as honesty, respect and keeping the family close. This has helped bring more purpose to the company and to maintain production levels at an optimal level.
Human capital is a big priority for us. We do not rely on recruiters and have developed a unique system to select team members that includes a three-month trial. Finding and retaining talented people is always a challenge. Through our system, we carefully identify the strengths and weaknesses of each member and create a plan to further develop each one.
Q: What are the company’s plans for the Zimapan concessions?
A: We are not owners of the concessions in Zimapan and this means that the mine has a limited lifespan. Carrizal Mining plans to expand the mine’s lifecycle by acquiring the concessions. The area has a history of mining. Peñoles left the area in 2000, Trafigura then entered the area in 2004 and left in 2008 and we came into the picture in 2009. We hope to continue the mining tradition of the area by expanding the project.
Q: How are women impacting the industry and what role do they play at Carrizal?
A: Women continue to have an important role in the company. Most companies hire women to simply handle public relations with the government or for similar roles, but we go beyond that and make sure they are an important part of our operations. We have women in executive positions. We have four managers, only one of whom is male. We have a woman in charge of analyzing risk in our operations, a woman in technical services and a woman in the administrative and financial area; all are at the highest level of the company. The matter of women in mining is often used by companies to help strengthen their reputation. But the roles that are given to women are all too often superficial. Not enough women are being given directorial or leadership positions. Carrizal is one of the few companies that offers these opportunities.