Alejandro Silvera
Director General
Master Drilling Mexico
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View from the Top

Using Diversification to Strengthen Service Provision

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 11:24

Q: What role did the Mexican mining industry play in the company’s North America revenues?
A: Mexico represents over 90 percent of the revenues we make in North America as we just opened the Canadian and US market last year. Mexico is our main market in the region as we already have over 13 years in this country. We collaborate with Industrias Peñoles, Pan American Silver and Capstone Gold, among others. In 2017, we grew 40 percent in comparison to 2016, due to our diversification of services and products. Our core business is still raise boring but we are also growing rapidly in dewatering services, shotcrete, flooded reverse circulation and many other services. This helped our company go from operating two raise boring machines to 18 machines in the last few years. Our goal is to achieve an annual growth of 20 percent but this can be impacted by the stability of the market.
We are wary of how the business can be impacted by a change of administration. Security issues also need to be dealt with to create a more stable environment. We mitigate these risks by having a strong track record to better promote ourselves as the services we offer are successful. We focus greatly on our efficiency and credibility. This is important in Mexico as its mining industry is small and part of a tight-knit community.
Q: How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
A: Our expertise in raise boring is our main differentiator. We also stand out by offering services in areas that we specialize in like shotcrete. However, other services like horizontal raise boring plays a bigger role in other countries, such as South Africa where our headquarters are located. In Mexico we are specializing in the services that national mining requires, and our growth is focused on providing the services the market needs. We also stand out from the crowd by manufacturing and assembling our own equipment. This is important because clients trust our ability to provide the high-quality equipment they need in a fast and efficient way.
Q: In what ways is the company innovating in mine drilling activity?
A: We ensure success by incorporating new technology into our portfolio and widening the array of our basic services. We offer drilling at all depths and diameters. If a particular ground condition is complicated and conventional methods are not enough, we always are prepared to use other innovative techniques to get the job done.
We are not only service providers but also strategic partners. We even offer robots as a way to innovate the services we offer and make drilling safer. Before,, miners were lowered into mines using baskets to shotcrete the walls, but now we have robots that can do these jobs. It greatly reduces risk as there is no possibility of an employee being hurt in their line of work. We strive to promote new technology that can greatly and continuously improve processes in a safe way.
Q: How realistic is the future of automated mines in Mexico?
A: In Mexico, employees have the capacity and the willingness to use these tools. But it all depends on the training and opportunities they are being given to learn how to use it. It can greatly improve operations, particularly in underground mines. We can provide remote-controlled equipment and sensors to keep people away from risk. This keeps investments safe and lowers costs as less capital needs to be spent in relation to accidents. More companies are starting to incorporate these tools. Fresnillo and Industrias Peñoles are leading the way and investing in this equipment on a larger scale, but all mines are doing it on the scale they can afford.