Vibrotech Engineering is a Spanish company whose core activity is the design and manufacture of vibrating machinery and installations for foundries and other sectors of the industry. Mexico Mining Review interviewed General manager Miguel Gordaliaza to ask him about low maintenance and long lasting tailored-made equipment for mine operations.
Q: What is your perspective of the Mexican mining industry in comparison to other mining jurisdictions?
A: The main regional mining countries for us are Chile, Peru, Mexico and Colombia. Chile had a downturn due to copper prices and recovered, while the forecast for Peru continues to be good. Mexico’s industry has slowed down, probably due to the elections and the drop in raw material prices. Uncertainty in Mexico is undermining the industry’s decision-making process. Factors such as Trump and the populist movement that is gaining strength in the country has meant investment in the industry has retracted. This is normal because an executive needs certainty to invest. For example, one of our main clients had a significant operation in Mexico but this was put on hold due to the electoral forecasts.
The company is now reconsidering where to invest its capital depending on how new regulations unfold and it is considering moving its mining operations to other, more favorable jurisdictions in South America. There are several opportunities opening up in other Latin American countries that may divert business from Mexico. Argentina, for example, is home to Pascua Lama, a gold-silver-copper deposit that is being developed by Barrick Gold and will most likely become the biggest gold mine in the world when it comes online.
Many people believe that Mexican operators use old and outdated machinery and are resistant to new advances. But I think Mexican miners are much more open to adopting new technologies compared with others in Latin America, such as Colombia. Other countries in the Latin America region have a hard time embracing new processes but in Mexico big groups are constantly willing to try new technologies for improving their operations. In many ways, Mexico is more advanced in technology than other countries in the region.
Q: How do you guarantee the provision of quick and high-quality maintenance even in the most remote mines?
A: We usually work with big operators that are very cautious. This means they often require a robust stock of spare parts to reduce the possibility of downtime. We do not have specialized technical service centers in all the countries we work, as we work all across the globe and this would be burdensome for us. But we do have brand representatives with the best technical training so they can directly solve minor issues locally. In case of a major problem, our headquarters in Spain are only 12 hours away and we are ready to send our technicians to solve issues. Our manufacturing plant is in the Valley of Trapaga, in Spain, and we are also associated with several workshops in San Sebastian. We are partnering with a company that develops mills from Bilbao and are evaluating the possibility of acquiring it in the future. This partnership will help us provide the complete spectrum of machinery installation for ore processing, from sieves and crusher to mills. Also, we have two commercial partners in Mexico. IMAF collaborates with us for the steelmaking and foundry sectors, and TEASA for mining. The former is also our close ally for other segments in Mexico, such as recycling. Vibrotech performs all the technical aspects and TEASA handles the commercial part alongside our commercial directors.
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