Underground Mining: Keep It SimpleWed, 10/18/2017 - 13:23
Q: How is Resemin working to incorporate new technologies into its portfolio?
A: Unlike many mining equipment manufacturers, we are not focused on designing automated solutions. It is not that we do not believe in the benefits of automated or robotic machinery – the mining industry owes a lot to this type of innovation – but this misses the primary function of our machines, which is to ensure long-term reliability. In an underground mine, machinery is subjected to extreme conditions including temperature, dust, water and harmful gas leaks, and the more electronic networks are in use the higher the chance of a short circuit or failure. We focus on designing relatively simple but highly-productive machinery that has a minimal chance of costing the user through downtime. This policy toward technology has been popular and successful in Mexico.
Q: To what extent has the rise in metal prices had a beneficial impact on Resemin’s business?
A: During 1H17, we sold a total of 20 machines to various clients, including four new customers, so we have been delighted to see the recovery of the sector and the impact it has had on our business. Word of mouth is still an important method of communication in Mexico so the fact that we are attracting new clients is an encouraging sign because it suggests the technology is selling itself through the quality of its performance. In 2016, we launched the Muki FF and Muki LHP products that are designed to work in narrow veins, which has performed very well and has helped attract new business. Two of the new clients are contractors working with Fresnillo. This is a significant development for the company because Fresnillo is the biggest primary silver producer in the world, and we are delighted to have our machines operating in their mines.
Q: What needs to be done to bring down the number of worker fatalities in Mexico’s underground mines?
A: The policies that have been implemented by both foreign and national companies in Mexico show that the industry is moving in the right direction. It took many years of hard work but we have finally reached a situation in Mexico where, for the majority of enterprises, worker safety is just as important as productivity and ore extraction levels. It is a priority for everyone and it is imperative that this continues to be the case.
Q: What new products is the company releasing in 2017?
A: We have released two products to complement the launch of the Mini Jumbo in 2017. The first was the Suri Scissor Lift, a heavy-duty utility vehicle with various functions including tube and ventilator fitting and fortification works. The most recent is the Scalemin scaling rig, a hydraulic diesel tunnel scaler used to mechanically remove rocks following a controlled explosion. Previously, this dangerous work was carried out manually but we now offer a mechanical solution. This is different to automation as no electronics are involved; we prefer the term mechanization.
Before the end of 2018, we will also begin manufacturing scoop tramps for the first time. We have always been focused on drilling equipment but our clients have made it clear to us that there is a need for underground loaders. This is the next important project for Resemin and our first scoop tramps should be available during 2018. This will enable us to provide equipment for the entire life span of the mine, from bore-hole drilling to material movement.
Q: How satisfied has the company been since its formal entry into Mexico four years ago?
A: We are pleased but we recognize that there is still work to be done. The market in Mexico is large and therwe are significant areas to cover but we know that patience and a long-term vision is crucial in mining. We are confident that we will continue to attract new clients in Mexico. The company aims to be working with all the major mining companies in the country on their largest underground projects. Our goal is to ensure that Resemin becomes known around the world for the quality of its personnel.