"We are confident that our experience in integral solutions in underground mining and the fact that we already have developed our business processes in the country will support the technical needs of current and new operations."
Can you elaborate on INCIMMET’s experience in mine backfill?
We are trying to create valuable content demonstrating INCIMMET’s extensive experience in the mine backfill field, as a part of our integral solution value preposition. We have provided EPCM services for mine backfills since the very early stages of the company, providing not only the operation of the backfill, but also the engineering and construction of the plants. A good mine backfill system accelerates production, which is particularly advantageous considering today’s metal prices. Importantly, you cannot achieve optimal productivity at a mine if you do not have a proper mine backfill system, and INCIMMET can help companies identify the best solutions for their challenges and tailor this to the specificities of their mine.
What are some of the standout projects INCIMMET has worked on in Colombia and Peru?
INCIMMET’s most recent contract is with La Paz Emerald mine owned by Fura Gems in Colombia. Thus far, it has been a very interesting experience with several challenges, as gemstones are different to precious or base metals, and it requires a change of mindset about how to mine. This project has motivated us to broaden the scope of projects we take on. We are also involved in vertical development operations for Continental Gold’s Buriticá mine in Colombia, constructing shafts for ore and waste passes..
In Peru, INCIMMET is the only contractor working on the Orcopampa and Tambomayo projects for Buenaventura, where we provide integral solutions such as mine development, mine backfill, rock support and ore production. Nexa Resources’ Cerro Lindo, the biggest underground mine in Peru, is also one of the standout projects INCIMMET has been working on for several years. We are also doing long haul drilling for Nexa. Additionally, we have been conducting an engineering project for Cori Puno, a gold mining company in Peru that also has an operation in Colombia.
Do you think the implementation of new technologies at mine sites has been accelerated because of the pandemic?
I believe that the pandemic has accelerated the desire to change, but there is a big difference between willingness and an actual action plan. You first need a desire to invest in infrastructure before you take on the implementation of technology. As a mining contractor we need to look for the balance, because we do not own the mine or make investments into IT infrastructure for the entire mine. The pandemic accelerated the willingness to adopt, but that does not mean that you will reach industry 4.0 in 2021. INCIMMET’s innovation strategy is focused on the short and medium term of our client needs, without neglecting the big trends in the long term. We believe this is how tangible and realistic progress can be made at a mining operation.
As a contractor, how do you maintain safety standards whilst working across different mining environments for different clients?
For many years INCIMMET has been reinforcing its safety systems and philosophy, while adapting to the specific needs of clients. However, since we began working with DuPont, we changed our mindset to start working with one standard. Even though we thought that we were already one of the best contractors regarding safety, we found significant space for improvement, and with the efforts we have put in over the past three years we have been able to reduce injuries by 98%. Moreover, in May 2021, we won a prize in an international contest for best practices in safety by ISEM.
What would you say are the benefits of maintaining long term relationships between contractors and mining companies?
Long term relationships are not only key for profitability in the point of view of the mining contractor, but also for clients, as it takes some time to fully learn how each mine can be optimized and for the efforts that you put in to show results. Contractors are anonymous in the quarterly production results of mining companies, but at least 50% to 60% of the success in the production relies on the contractor. We are in a very complex business and without long term relationships, we cannot be sustainable. Contractors such as INCIMMET have a lot of knowledge and experience to provide to clients, and through collaboration we can all achieve success.