Ramón Hiram Luna Espinoza
Director General
Servicios y Proyectos Mineros
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Insight

World-Class Geologists Need Dose of Local Expertise

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 13:46

Imagine a Canadian mining company preparing to enter a new jurisdiction such as Mexico. Confident in the skills of its handpicked geologists, it feels certain that this team will be able to swiftly and economically identify areas of geological interest. After all, geology is geology and while its experts have not worked in Mexico before, they have had success back home in Canada. Well, that confidence may be misplaced, according to Ramón Hiram Luna Espinoza, Director General of Servicios y Proyectos Mineros (SPM). “Mining companies usually only have two to five geologists in their exploration teams. Such a number cannot dominate all the areas relevant to the geosciences. A larger team such as ours may cover any scientific or engineering need that could arise,” he explains. Luna Espinoza lays out another reason why SPM enjoys a home field advantage when it comes to exploration services in Mexico. The company is extremely selective when it comes to picking the freshly graduated geologists it brings into its team. “We aim to only bring the best in and take them to the highest level. Our geologists have the level to compete with anyone in the world and this has been demonstrated by the number of mineral discoveries made in our country by SPM.”

SPM offers solutions to mining companies for all areas of geological exploration, including prospecting, defining areas for drilling, 3D modeling, calculating reserves, and exploration logistics. However, Luna Espinoza believes that one of SPM’s main strengths is the range of skills its high number of geologists can offer. “We have very experienced people who have been involved in exploring many types of mineral deposits. That range of expertise allows us to meet the needs of any exploration project as well as all the geological requirements that come up over the duration of a mining project,” he says. He also dwells on the fact that local knowledge is needed to complement the skillsets of the most technically sound geologists. “Foreign junior exploration companies may have a Vice-President of Exploration who, despite being an expert, does not understand the local geology or how to efficiently advance exploration in Mexico. Our knowledge and experience of resource exploration in Mexico allows our customers to achieve their goals in shorter periods of time.” His arguments have certainly resonated in the corporate offices of mining companies. In Sonora, SPM has been contracted to provide geological assessments of exploration projects for Peñoles and Argonaut Gold, while it has also done so for Levon Resources in Chihuahua and managed GoGold Resources’ entire exploration program at the San Diego project in Durango. AuRico Gold also entrusted SPM with the calculation and certification of reserves for both the open-pit and underground sections of the Ocampo mine in Chihuahua while Grupo Mexico hired the firm to carry out cartography work at its Coahuila properties.

Beyond an impressive client list, one fact leaps out from this summary, all these projects have taken place in northern Mexico, the country’s traditional heartland. While this is not surprising given that most exploration takes place there, SPM believes it would be careless to ignore the mining potential of Mexico’s other areas. “The entire Pacific coast of the country is likely to contain mineral wealth, given its volcanological conditions. Until now, the northern states have had a stranglehold on much of the mining industry as they have the right facilities to accelerate the sector’s development. This infrastructure, coupled with local communities’ broad acceptance of mining projects, has made it easier to exploit deposits found there,” says Roberto Sánchez García, SPM’s Exploration Manager. He feels that states like Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Michoacan are particularly likely to contain vast mineral deposits, although their socio-cultural and economic conditions make it more difficult to develop mining projects there. Despite this, SPM is certain that these states will rise to greater prominence over time as larger mining discoveries are made. Once that happens, SPM is ready to get involved. “SPM has been involved in exploration in every Mexican mining state and beyond, operating in Central America and Colombia as well, through its subsidiary Logiminco,” states Sánchez García.

No matter whether successful exploration is carried out in Coahuila or Colombia, all mining companies must then follow through with highly accurate property reports that are their main weapon to raise more financing from investors and stock markets. The Toronto, New York, and London stock exchanges are all extremely demanding about such reports and expect them to be produced to the highest standards. “The certification of reserves listed in such reports will determine the level of liquidity and support that a mining project receives. Any professional seeking to prepare or certify such a report must be recognized by one of these institutions as a qualified person. SPM fully understands this and we are able to offer the writing of these reports to our clients. We also understand how to modify them based on the protocols our clients are required to follow by specific stock exchanges,” concludes Luna Espinoza.