Alejandro Espejel
Country Manager
FLSmidth
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View from the Top

Staying One Step Ahead of the Ore Processing Pack

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 12:51

Q: What challenges are operators facing in terms of mineral scarcity and falling grade and how can you help them?
A: Electricity is one of the main cost-contributors in mineral processing for our customers, so we want to provide the best solution for their entire process by looking at their operation as a whole. By working closely with customers, we can deliver the solution the operation requires, allowing us to optimize the recovery rate for our clients. When considering water, for example, we recognize that it is a scarce resource worldwide and especially for a water-intensive process like mining. Our dry tailings solution EcoTails allows our customers to recover as much as 90-95 percent of the water used in tailings management. We think this will be very important for the industry.
Q: What solutions in particular are you promoting for the mining industry?
A: Among them is the dry tailings solution, EcoTails, which is a new system that dramatically improves tailings and waste rock disposal while economically processing mine waste and increasing water recovery and reuse. We are working with some of our customers and other stakeholders to roll out this type of technology across the country. In terms of electricity management, we provide a product called SAGwise total process control for the grinding circuit that allows our customers to optimize the feed degree of their mills, and in that way the consumption per ton of ore that is being processed.
We are working hand-in-hand with mining groups to see what new innovative technology is best suited for their needs. Some of these products include our revolutionary Rapid Oxiditive Leaching (ROL) technology for copper and gold production and our nextSTEP advanced flotation technology. We are now ready to roll this out in Mexico.
Q: What added benefit do you offer Mexican mining companies?
A: We are the only company in the industry that can provide leading mining equipment, offering a full pit-to-port portfolio, while also delivering strong aftermarket services. No other company in the industry can offer this combination of projects, products and services. At the same time, we have a strong 50-year presence locally, and Mexico is one of our countries of focus. We are creating new synergies as a North American region, which is one of the important structural changes we are undergoing. Recently, FLSmidth restructured itself to focus on seven regions, one of which is North America. We are pooling our sales and service execution resources across Canada, the US, Mexico and Central America to the benefit of customers in the entire region.
Q: What demand are you seeing from the mining industry for new technologies?
A: There is always the need to make operations more efficient. One solution we can provide is SmartCyclone, a monitoring and control solution in a closed-circuit grinding system for improving cyclone-related processes, predicting and controlling cyclone maintenance schedules and measuring whether the battery is operating efficiently or not. The difference in efficiency can be dramatic but we can create an alert that goes to the control room immediately. These types of fast technology-driven response and monitoring systems and solutions capable of intercepting errors will become increasingly more important in mining in the long term.
Mining companies are increasingly interested in these new solutions but in some cases the concepts are not easy to implement in an existing facility. Any slight change in the process can have significant consequences in efficiency and cost of production. In general, our customers are cautious about making changes in their processes and we understand that. Therefore, we come to them with case studies, proven technology and solid proposals to implement pilot projects based on their specific circumstances so that they can be confident when making these kinds of changes.