Felipe Palma
General Manager
Promi-Mex
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Promi-Mex: Representative Sampling Systems Equal Productivity

By Alejandro Ehrenberg | Thu, 08/06/2020 - 13:54

Q: What opportunities in Mexico’s mining industry led to Promi-Mex’s foundation?

A: When Siemens’ water treatment division was sold to a private party and rebranded as Evoqua, Promi-Mex saw an opportunity and began distributing Evoqua in Mexico. We slowly built up our brand portfolio from there. We realized that mineral processing solutions in Mexico were scattered among many suppliers. Our goal is to represent top foreign manufacturers in Mexico with the ultimate goal of being a one-stop-shop for mineral processing solutions.

Q: What is Promi-Mex’s main added value?

A: Our portfolio is very complete. We are still missing flotation cells and certain milling applications, but other than that, we have a full solution for processing plants. Nevertheless, it is not enough to have a robust portfolio of manufacturers. Promi-Mex has gone beyond that to meet the need for highly-qualified engineers. Our team has a great deal of experience in mining and can select the right equipment from our portfolio, install it and operate it. We are also capable of installing all necessary infrastructure.

Our main guideline for providing the best technical service is to have a complete knowledge of the plant. We discover what the client needs and offer a solution to a real problem, rather than creating an artificial problem that suits our solutions portfolio. The strategy is to identify opportunity areas. This can be challenging because many times plants are run by engineers who are immersed in their own processes and lose some perspective. Nevertheless, once we detect an opportunity, we devise an idea and present it to the client with a clearly defined ROI. When the idea is approved and the budget negotiated, we then build the project, using equipment from our 12 manufacturers in our portfolio. We walk side by side with our customers during all stages of the project. An important service that we offer is training the clients’ personnel thoroughly after the project is completed. We also deliver a weekly report to management and to the manufacturer of the equipment we are installing. Transparency among all parties is key.

Q: What challenges have you run into when implementing improvements at processing plants?

A: It is important to be clear about what the client wants. Many times, the client already has an installed infrastructure and it is hard for the engineer in charge to change the client’s mind. They tend to stick with whatever has guaranteed production in the past. “If it is still productive, why change it” is the prevalent philosophy. Our engineers have to be able to speak the same language as our clients’ engineers and advocate potential improvements. Once we implement our improvements, the benefits become evident quickly and everyone starts to cooperate.

Q: What benefits do your sampling systems provide to a minerals processing plant?

A: Tecpromin’s sampling systems are our core business for products and integral solutions. The purpose of a sampling system is to take a representative sample of a certain material that needs to be analyzed. Tecpromin’s systems meet national and international standards and operational requirements. They are used for keeping the metallurgical balance right. In Mexico, I believe there is no other equipment that can offer the level of representation that Tecpromin offers. The fact that they follow international standards means that any auditor in any part of the world can use the samples and verify if they qualify.

The point of keeping a precise metallurgical balance is to know how much ore is being processed in the plant and how much is being sent to the tailings pond. There are different types of sampling systems and they are installed in different points of the plant. For example, we installed a sampling system at the tailings discharge point of a plant in Northwest Mexico. The plant’s superintendent no longer has to worry about the representativity of the sample there: it is 100 percent representative. Plant managers have now a better tooling to improve the overall process, based in the results of this accurate system.

Q: How quickly can customers recover their investment after you install a sampling system in their plant?

A: Equipment sometimes produces errors and by means of our sampling systems, we are able to reduce that error to a minimum. As a result, we heighten efficiency. The money we save our clients is commensurate with the errors our systems eliminate. Every plant is different, but I remember one case, in which we saved our client US$300,000 per month. In cases like this one, which are not uncommon, ROI happens extremely fast. The whole plant benefits. Our systems open a window into the whole plant and allow technicians to fine-tune and eliminate inefficiencies, instead of constantly having to lose time on representativity issues.

Promi-Mex was founded in 2014 in Saltillo, Coahuila, and is specialized in the development of technologies and equipment used in the area of ​​mineral processing and related industries.

Alejandro Ehrenberg Alejandro Ehrenberg Journalist and Industry Analyst