Ivan Rayo

GENERAL MANAGER, JRI INGENIER√ćA

May 24, 2017

Could you please give us a brief introduction to JRI’s operations in Chile?

JRI is a Chilean company with 35 years of experience in the mining sector. We have developed three main areas of technical expertise in Chile: pipeline project development, concentrate plant design and optimization, and underground mining design. We also have experience working in countries such as Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador, the United States, Armenia, India, South Africa, and Congo. We are trying to expand to areas other than mining, such as hydraulics and civil infrastructure, but right now, approximately 95% of our business relates to mining.

What are JRI’s most important lines of business?

JRI has gained a lot of experience in pipeline and concentrate plant design projects. Underground mining is also very relevant today, but it is a young area. We have been developing it for about 12 years. Nowadays, we are starting to work on innovation and development services to increase productivity in the mining industry, such as hydraulic transport, new automatic control systems, and robotization. In fact, we already have self-operating equipment control components. We are considering approaching potential technological partners, but until then we are developing the systems and processes on our own. We are still exploring the robotization and we want to see where the future will lead us. Looking ahead, we also want to invest in resources other than copper, including rare earths or other elements that may be attractive and reprocess them. Additionally, we plan to solve environmental problems, so we are very interested in technological development and applied research in that realm.

How does JRI differentiate itself from competition, particularly abroad?

JRI started to internationalize in 2000 when we completed a project in Argentina. Then we partnered with an American company to study and construct hydraulic transport lines, which helped build our reputation in many parts of the world. Our level of competition depends on the jurisdiction. For example, in Africa, we do not have much local competition. In Congo, we were the most experienced engineering company in mining, plant construction, and equipment purchasing. JRI is a special case, as engineering companies abroad are typically large, multinational firms based in Australia, Africa, or the United States. Overall, I believe our biggest difference is our experience in mining technology. Our strategy is to maintain human capital and not lose the know-how. In Chile there is such an emphasis on technical expertise and our many years of learning and working in the mining industry in Chile gave us strong expertise. We are good strategic partners and excellent mining professionals.

What is your perspective on environmental regulations in Chile and how do you help create sustainable practices for your clients?

The environmental issue is complicated. Regulations in Chile were not very demanding, we are recently starting to feel a little more pressure when it comes to these types of rules. Time will help us learn how to face them. On the other hand, Peru, for example, is a more complex environment in terms of regulations. The projects, generally, are in areas with many local communities, vegetation, and animals, so this makes the situation very complicated. In Chile, many of the projects are in the desert and typically do not affect local communities.

What is JRI’s outlook for the next two years?

When the price of copper fell dramatically, the mining industry stopped investing in research and innovation. At JRI, we spent that time looking for more efficient and more cost-effective investment projects that made the most use of our existing facilities. Optimizing existing resources is the main contribution that an engineering company can make during times of crisis in the mining sector. Personally, my outlook is positive. I think the price of copper will maintain its current level this year and slightly rise the next year. Regardless of the rise of copper, however, I expect an improvement when it comes to the confidence that investors have in Chile, our government, and the economic system.

 

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