Juan Jòse Camacho
Director General
Grupo Camacho
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View from the Top

Reducing Fire Hazards and Saving Lives in Mining

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 11:18

Q: What are the most popular products that Grupo Camacho provides to the mining industry?

A: Grupo Camacho is a diversified fire protection company, and we work with different products and services. We supply fixed and portable products, as well as equipment maintenance. We design, construct, and provide maintenance for suppression systems with different agents such as powder, foam, chemicals, and water. We also provide smoke, heat, and fire detection systems, and we use laser and inhalation technology, as well as conventional systems that work based on photoelectric detection. We are completely convinced that having only the equipment is not enough. It is incontestable that trained staff is essential to maintain and use these technologies. There are cases where mining companies do not have the trained personnel to perform maintenance on the equipment, and precisely for this reason Grupo Camacho created the Firefighter School, to train technicians in how to operate our systems and act in the case of an emergency. We teach students to fight fires, manipulate hazardous materials, and perform first aid on people. In addition, we offer training courses in hazardous material leak response, vertical collapsed structures and vehicular rescue operation.

Q: What have been Grupo Camacho’s greatest achievements in the Mexican mining industry?

A: Our most important accomplishment is understanding what the mining industry needs, and being able to respond within the required response time and work in the most challenging environments. We are conscious that the mining operations cannot stop working and that production must be at the maximum possible level every hour of every day. As a result, we know that danger is always there, so we have to be prepared to respond as quickly as possible. We know that success comes when the client’s satisfaction has been met. For example, there are some products that take up to six weeks to be delivered, but a mining operation cannot wait that long. For this reason we keep an extensive inventory so that we can guarantee delivery when products are required. We have opened offices in strategic locations to cover the northwest and center of the country, in Cananea and Guadalajara. This is another factor that has enabled us to provide solutions in an efficient and practical way.

Q: How do Grupo Camacho’s products and services distinguish the company from its competitors?

A: We put ourselves in our clients’ shoes. The most expensive and modern product is not always the best choice for everyone. It is crucial to perform a risk and legal framework analysis of each mining company’s operations, in order to be able to present the best cost-benefit option for them. There are occasions where the most modern technologies do not comply with the authority’s requirements. It is also essential to comply with insurance requirements so that in the case of an incident, mining companies do not lose money by failing to comply with the guidelines.

Q: What are the main differences between products for the mining industry and those used by other industries? A: Every industry has different needs because the implicit risks are different. A mine is usually located far away from emergency response teams, so the response team must work efficiently in order to safeguard the operation and minimize the damage to production, without requiring external help. Mining companies need more specialized training and they require different processes to mitigate any fire hazard. We sometimes apply fire prevention techniques used in other industries such as hotels, warehouses, and industrial kitchens. The mining value chain is broad and fire hazards exist at every stage. For example, in an underground mine most fires start on the machines operating in tunnels, or as a result of the products or fuels they use. Fire hazards are generally caused by human error, but occasionally they can be the result of mechanical failure. Our systems have prevented these types of fires. Through its years of experience, Grupo Camacho has managed to find fire prevention solutions to minimize risks at each mining stage.

Q: What is the company’s vision for the future and what are its expansion plans in the mining industry?

A: We want to open offices in other parts of Mexico so that our response time can be faster. We also want to certify the Firefighter School with the Ministry of Education in order to provide technical careers in firefighting equipment installation and maintenance. Through the school, we have trained over 50,000 people in 20 years, mostly from Chihuahua, but also from Coahuila, Durango, Sinaloa and Sonora.