Outstanding R&D for Superior Drilling ValueThu, 10/17/2019 - 13:39
Q: Has the surge in metal prices resulted in an increased volume of work for Forage G4 Drilling?
CL: It is true that prices have gone up, but they are fluctuating. My outlook is not negative but I do not think the industry is picking up just yet. I do hope that in 2020 business will increase. However, at present, we are not receiving many proposals. Companies have not directed their extra resources to investment but to maintaining current operations.
JAM: There is some measure of optimism. When López Obrador became president, some sectors had rather drab expectations. But companies in the mining sector have kept working. Growth has not been exponential; it has been slow and steady. Our most recent business projects have not happened in new operations, but in existing ones, where we were chosen for our competitive edge. The market for mining products is cyclical and our hopes are set on 2020.
Q: How do you mitigate economic risks?
JAM: There are two factors we take into account: the human and the material. In times of economic contraction, we reengineer our operation by reclassifying our materials so they are absolutely ready to be deployed as soon as there is a new project. Human resources are also reduced to the minimum required for providing satisfactory service. We try to balance this with the need for good personnel who can grow and develop in our company. We have established an incentives plan for our workers to pursue training and certifications. We want to foster their sense of recognition and belonging. Often, there is a standby period in projects and our workers experience it as insecurity. During these periods, we make sure our workers continue developing professionally.
CL: It is a delicate situation with regard to our workers. The transmission of knowledge is undermined during times of economic contraction. We want a father’s drilling expertise to be passed down to his son so that he also takes part in our company and enriches it. But workers know that right now, mining is not as strong as it was a few years ago.
Q: In terms of business development, what clients are you pursuing, and why do they choose you?
CL: We are interested in working with mining companies that understand, respect and value the work that exploration companies carry out. We are especially attracted to companies with operations both in Mexico and Canada, as we always try to keep one foot there and one here. In this regard, Alamos Gold is a prime example. But there are certain worrisome signals some customers are sending. For instance, Leagold Mining decided to invest in Brazil instead of Mexico and bought a mine in the South American country. However, they are not drilling nearly as much as they used to. They are nowhere near the 200,000 meters per year they used to drill in the recent past. I find this unsettling, because it is atypical for a company like Leagold to not be investing heavily in drilling, particularly at a gold mine. This tells me about the current situation the industry as whole is going through.
JAM: Even in the midst of the current period of contraction, which we anticipate is near its end, clients still bring business to us because they recognize our commitment to provide a totally satisfactory end product. Plus, they associate the company with excellent people, knowledgeable professionals at the top of their field who guarantee the best service.
Q: What is your goal for next year?
CL: To deliver all our present projects in a timely manner, with the excellence that characterizes us. Also, to optimize our resources and streamline the programs we are already running. We can do so much more with five properly deployed machines than with 10 poorly deployed ones. Out of the total bill, some competitors charge clients just 50 percent for drilling, while the rest corresponds to other expenses. If what we charge our customers is 75 percent drilling, then we are offering a superior service. There are sound reasons for our prices being a little higher than average,