Erik Jensen
Business Manager P&I Division Americas for Environmental Products
AAF International
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View from the Top

Specialized Air Pollution Control Can Improve Profits

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 13:07

Q: What added value do AAF International’s dust control solutions deliver to the mining sector?
A: All the airborne dust in a mine environment is flying money because the powder is often full of minerals; the finer the dust, the higher the percentage of minerals present. Quite simply, it is profitable to collect it. But control is also vital because dust can significantly harm the health of workers. Our products contribute both to improving profitability and enhancing the health security of mine-site employees.
In terms of Mexico’s requirements, we have run into some hurdles trying to introduce new technologies to the mining sector because of local reluctance. Wet scrubbers have been in the global market for more than 80 years but Mexican miners are still reluctant to adopt them due to local idiosyncrasies. This despite that all our technologies are backed by our broad experience and constantly enhanced through innovation. As wet scrubbers are still not embraced by Mexican mining, we provide the industry with dry dust control processes, such as OptiFlo cartridge filters and FabriPulse bag filters.
Q: How are you overcoming Mexican miners’ resistance to embrace new technologies?
A: Our approach is to help our clients understand how much money they can earn by deploying our new technologies. We are convinced that this is the key to breaking this resistance because clients need to see how their investment with lead to profits. For example, the cost-benefit comparisons between using a bag filter, a cartridge filter or a wet scrubber are related to the consumables used by each product. Cartridge filters have a lifespan of three to six months, while bag filters are from one to two years. Wet scrubbers are the most cost-effective and can save miners around 30 to 40 percent annually in dust control expenses given that steam is the only input needed. Additionally, as their use is subject to a mine’s water availability, their implementation is often restricted.
It is important to mention that while the dry processes, such as FabriPulse and OptiFlo, are more expensive, they are also more efficient for dust control. However, wet scrubbers can easily be modified to reach the same efficiency levels of air purification. All of our dust control technologies comply with the highest efficiency standards of 10mg of suspended particles in the air per m3.
Q: What are the benefits of AAF’s RotoClone line for air pollution control in mine operations?
A: RotoClone is part of our wet scrubbers line. These are not very known in Latin America because the industry usually operates with dry processes. The RotoClone W is a very compact wet scrubber whose versatility makes it optimum for underground mine operations. It works as a blower that captures all the dust in the environment and turns it into mud that can later be processed to obtain any minerals present. We also offer the RotoClone N, which is more robust equipment and a better fit for open-pit operations.
Q: What is your most popular product in the Mexican mining industry and what is its added value?
A: FabriPulse is our most popular product line in Mexico. The difference between this line and other options in the market is the variety of bag filters that we offer, from simple polyester to chemical treatment options. FabriPulse solutions also can reduce expended energy from 15-17 percent.
Q: What are AAF International’s growth plans in Mexico and how do you plan to achieve your goal?
A: Mining in Mexico represents around 15 percent of our country business and 60 percent for Latin America. Our main clients are Goldcorp’s Peñasquito mine and Pan American Silver. As 2018 and 2019 were transition years in Mexico, our opportunities will depend on the FDI the sector attracts. In the face of uncertainty, we are diversifying into other sectors, such as automotive and aerospace, to better shield ourselves against mining downcycles. We expect to keep growing at a 10-15 percent rate per year. To achieve this goal, we will further consolidate our distribution network and continue investing in technology innovation.