Olympus NDT is a specialist manufacturer of portable geochemical analyzers for the global exploration and mining industry. It has in-house expertise in using technology for geological field scenarios, with analyzers engineered to be rugged and reliable to keep geologists up and running in the field. Mexico Mining Review interviewed Mexico Managing Director Patricia Nakagawa to get her take on the current state of the market.
Q: What is the Mexican mining industry’s role in Olympus’ global strategy?
A: In terms of Olympus’ global market, Mexico does not play a very large role. In terms of the Latin American market, Mexico will be the focus right now and later can act as a bridge for the company to jump into other countries in the region. We have a presence in Brazil but given the country’s recent problems, Mexico has moved to the forefront as our key Latin American market. The support we have from other countries in the region, such as Canada and the US, also factor into this. Latin America has shown steady growth for us across all our industries.
Q: How does Olympus differentiate itself from other companies on the market offering similar services?
A: Our technologies not only help to define what kind of mineralization exists in a deposit but also helps companies make smarter decisions. We can provide all the information required so a company can make a production decision based on the amount of resources that can be found. In the past, a sample had to be taken, it had to be sent to a laboratory and it was a waiting game. Now, we can carry out this analysis in the field, saving more time and money.
We have a sales team on the ground that can directly offer all our products locally. We can even repair the equipment in-country as we have a repair center in Mexico City. If we need more specialized training, we have a team that can come from Canada to provide this support. Our main customers are most of the main players in the Mexican mining industry, including First Majestic Silver, Agnico Eagle, Industrias Peñoles, Fresnillo and even SGM. Our philosophy is to remain close to these clients and find new ways to support them with a solution.
Our products are also cost-competitive when compared to others on the market. When taking into account the long-term benefit, this becomes even more evident. Our products have been subjected to military testing so are highly durable. In general, Olympus is recognized for the quality and durability of its products.
Q: Which of your mining products are most in demand and why?
A: Vanta is our brand X-ray technology that we are very confident about. This technology can help identify the minerals in the sample and the quality of the information is far superior to similar products produced by our competitors. We also have a Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) product that takes place at the deposit to detect any leakage or breakage of equipment. This latter technology has seen the greatest penetration in the mining industry but we believe the X-ray technology can also offer a broad range of benefits for our clients.
Our Terra Mobile analyzer is another product worth highlighting as it is the first truly portable XRD/XRF device in the market. The technology is patented and was developed especially for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission. It is our most advanced technology product but it has a small computer built into it where the results can be accessed onsite.
Q: What is your key to success in the industry and what are your predictions for the sector’s growth?
A: The most important thing for us is the information that can be extracted from the mine site. After that, the speed of the information processing is of the utmost importance because even one minute on a mine site implies huge amounts of money. Our focus is to provide preliminary information onsite for greater speed. Then we focus on the detail and accuracy and with a little more time we can create analyses and charts to really demonstrate the story behind the deposit. The customer is the one who makes the decision based on the information provided by the instrument.
Right now, we are seeing growth in exploration. All markets are cyclical and we believe we are in an upturn. This is especially evident in that companies are more willing to purchase new technology.
Q: How realistic are autonomous and digital mines for Mexico?
A: In Mexico this seems to be a long way off. Huge investments in technology should be made but nowadays, the main target is the investment in mining itself. Expenditure in technology should be prioritized as it is a catalyst for fundamental changes that must take place in the country. This is true not only in regulatory matters to promote the industry but in security issues to make investments more attractive.
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