In an exclusive preview of the 2019 edition, Mexico Mining Review, Richard Booth, Managing Director for North and South America of MMD Mineral Sizing Central America talks about the rising importance of truck-free mines and how the company’s solutions are optimizing the industry.
Q: How is global mining changing and what is your perception of the state of the mining industry in Mexico?
A: Global mining is increasingly recognizing the need for greener mining. For four decades, our passion has been to provide equipment and solutions that reduce or eliminate the need for trucks. We are developing technology that revolves around truckless mines and our equipment also enables operations to become more effective and efficient. So far we are having a lot of success, especially in South America. We specialize in big equipment for mass mining operations. The South American mining industry is growing a lot faster than in Mexico. The country has fewer big mines in comparison to the mass operations in Chile – Mexico still has a large number of small mines that often produce about 4,000t/h. The Mexican market is not difficult to break into but I think at the moment operators in the country will wait to see the impact of the presidential elections in 2018.
Q: What strategies are you implementing to overcome resistance in the Mexican mining industry to new solutions and technologies?
A: The resistance often comes down to a simple lack of knowledge or perceived higher cost of new technologies. Whilst CAPEX costs might be slightly higher in some cases, OPEX rates are often vastly reduced, and performance increases result in favorable ROI figures. We are now going above and beyond by connecting our customers to external financial support where CAPEX cost is the barrier. We are a highly specialized business, but we take time to retain a presence at the top mining exhibitions and conferences, enabling customers to learn more, and ask questions about the company and our technology. Our global experience allows us to go to mines that nobody else is willing to work in – this helps cement our reputation in Mexico.
Q: What is the future for In-Pit Sizing and Conveying systems (IPSC) in Mexico and how are mine operators responding to this technology?
A: Our flagship Fully Mobile Sizer which sits at the heart of our largest IPSC system, can process 9,000t/h of overburden (with peaks of 14,000t/h demonstrated) and transports material away via a conveyor network. However, for open-pit mines, where conveyor installation is impractical or cost-prohibitive, operators can still make use of their existing truck fleet whilst enjoying the benefits of continuous mining.
MMD’s latest design, the Fully Mobile Surge Loader (FMSL), is set to eliminate inefficient truck-shovel operations. A shovel’s utilization is sometimes only 60–70 percent of what it could be, as it has to wait for trucks to return and spot. The Surge Loader is positioned between the shovel and haul trucks, so the shovel operator can continue stockpiling material into the receiving hopper. The Surge Loader’s feeder unit loads trucks faster than when they’re fed directly by the shovel in an automated start/stop method; this ensures each truck is hauling at maximum capacity.
Trucks no longer need to reverse into position, thus cutting shovel waiting time. With a full hopper on the Surge Loader, the shovel can reposition without interrupting truck loading. MMD’s simulations have demonstrated the ability to increase shovel utilization to nearly 95 percent, and that more material can be moved with the same number of trucks, or fewer trucks are needed to maintain the same level of production.
This is an exclusive preview of the 2019 edition of Mexico Mining Review. If you want to get all the information, plus other relevant insights regarding this industry, pre-order your copy Mexico Mining Review or access our digital copy of the 2018 edition.