The Value Chain Behind Successful Project DevelopmentBy Miriam Bello | Wed, 02/12/2020 - 15:16
Although the mining sector plays a pertinent role in Mexico’s economy, the industry needs to continue to demonstrate its relevance, Enrique Espinosa, Subdirector of Mineral Resources at the Mexican Geological Survey, said during a panel discussion at Mexico Mining Forum 2020, held at the Sheraton Maria Isabel hotel in Mexico City on Wednesday. “Mexico is behind several powers such as Canada and the US but it is our responsibility to provide exploration and new deposits, to be committed to generating new processes and to strengthen the supply chain to demonstrate how the mining sector contributes to the country.”
The panel, titled “The Value Chain Behind Successful Project Development” and moderated by Gerardo Durán, Director General of the Chihuahua Mining Cluster, broached subjects such as sustainable actions in mining, the impact of technology and innovation on processes and the overall responsibility of the mining sector in Mexico. “In addition to mineral demand, the drivers behind mining are the environment and climate change, the digital transformation and automation,” said Agustin Enciso, Director General of Cozcyt. He also pointed out that the focus for the industry needs to be on the future as well as the present. "Mining will not attract more investment nor will it develop high-quality talent if it only focuses on communicating its present benefits. Companies need vision toward the future."
The panel also spoke of the need to break stereotypes and educate the public on the good that the industry does for communities. “Mining is not a highly invasive practice, it has evolved to be a synonym for social responsibility, sustainability and most importantly, technology and innovation,” said Durán. On the technology front, David Vizcarrondo, Director of Strategic Accounts at Emerson, discussed the evolution of technological trends in the sector. “Automation and technology have been spearheading innovation, a development focused on mining specialization, production costs, efficiency and safety,” he said.
Expanding on the technology question, Enciso spoke about an industrial park in Zacatecas that “encourages and educates in the use of technology to ensure that the mining industry develops research centers, talent, technology and suppliers to continue promoting development for other sectors.” Espinoza shared this point of view and added that, “The future of mining must be with mining alliances and social development. This alliance begins with exploration and the geologist who opens the project and is the first ally of the community.”
Turning to the future of the sector, Alejandro Espejel, Country Manager of FLSmidth, described the long-term nature of every mining project and the resulting accomplishments that come from that. “Each mining project is long term, where the investor seeks to satisfy a challenge related to volumes and extraction efficiency. Robust suppliers are needed along with up-to-date knowledge. We develop projects, do tests locally, have equipment to analyze the products that are going to be used and develop systems that optimize the process.” To this, Enciso added that, “Automation will eliminate many jobs at mines. The challenge now is to ally with academic institutions to develop the talent that companies will need in the future.”
The challenges that Mexico faces are not restricted to the local industry, and the priorities for the industry are globally understood. “The global challenges of mining have concrete priorities that go hand in hand with sustainable development and security. Also preparing mining for the next generation is important, making it attractive to the new generation. Digitalization does that,” said Vizcarrondo.