Héctor Miranda
Mexico Country Manager
View from the Top

Sustainably Blasting Mexico’s Future Mines

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 12:12

Q: How do Australian companies like Orica view the Mexican mining industry?
A: Mexico represents a great opportunity for all investors around the world, not only in the mining sector, but also in other industries. The country offers great opportunities thanks to the size of its market and Mexico’s own ability to be the gateway to other important markets. Considering exclusively the mining point of view, it is true that Mexico has lost competitiveness in the last years; however, the government is making decisions to reverse this situation to return to 2015, when Mexico became the world’s fifth-ranked country in terms of mining exploration.
The Mexican mining market is crucial for Australian investors. Mexico is a country of high importance for Australian companies and I believe Mexico is a strategic country for their interests. As for Orica, we are working in different levels of the government to support Mexican mining especially in everything that has to do with best practices, where Orica has accumulated significant experience at a global level.
Q: What added value do companies that choose your blasting services receive?
A: Orica can manage the outcome of the blast, considering the type of rock that is going to be fragmented. We do all this through a simulation software into which we introduce different variables that may affect the process. Based on these results, we can recommend the best product combination, blast design and equipment to improve efficiency, productivity and safety for our customers’ operations.
Mining companies have made decisions in their initial investment in equipment based on some assumptions that are normally conservative. From our point of view, it is more profitable for mines to put more chemical energy in the mine versus investing in expensive mechanical rock fragmentation equipment and expending a high cost in electrical energy.
Q: One of Orica’s specialties is electronic blasting systems. What are the company’s plans for its implementation in Mexico?
A: This wireless technology is unique in the world and we began using it in 2018 for pillars recovery in mineralized sectors of underground mines. This is the only technology that allows this recovery and helps to eliminate the exposure of personnel in risk areas. It has been a very successful service that we have implemented not only at Newmont Goldcorp, but also at other mining companies in Canada, Chile and Australia. In 2019, we began testing at Fresnillo Mine and have already recovered several previously discarded mineralized pillars, which is a huge benefit to mining companies.
Q: Mining activity is often carried out in remote locations. How does Orica ensure the safety of explosives transportation in Mexico?
A: Safety is one of Orica’s corporate values. It is a vision that not only affects Orica’s activity: all companies that work with Orica must comply with rigorous safety procedures. In the specific case of the transportation of all our products, we work with a portfolio of carriers that includes advanced technologies for control, such as on-board cameras or GPS, which allows us to track these units in real time. We look for the best strategic partners in the market.
Q: Orica is expanding its presence in Mexico by acquiring companies that provide innovative solutions. What are the characteristics of companies you might be interested in?
A: Orica’s strategy is based on the technological differentiation that we can offer to our clients. We also seek a workforce that can add value to our processes and to our customers. All our technological developments are associated with the improvement of blasting, not only from the explosives point of view, but also in the technology that allows remote monitoring. The acquisition of companies is a common strategy for Orica on a global basis.