Interview, Mining, Mining Technology Tagged

Interview with a Peruvian Mining Engineer – Technology

We interviewed Juan Oswaldo Luján Montes, a Peruvian Mining Engineer with experience in mining operations, mine planning, and mining projects. He has worked with major mining companies in Peru for over 20 years. Juan provides us insight into the Peruvian mining industry, what technologies are interesting for the market, and suggestions of how forign providers can ensure they are succesful when introducing new technologies. 

Ax Legal: Could you tell us about your experience in the mining industry? 

Juan Oswaldo Luján Montes: I have been in the mining industry for over 20 years. I started working as a supervisor and have worked in several positions such as Mine Manager and Drilling and Blasting Manager. More recently, I started my work in the area of Mining Planning, where I am currently a specialist in mine design and planning.

My goal is to continue working in the planning area as Planning Superintendent and to grow my career as a Planning Manager or Technical Services Manager. For this, I continue to specialize in Mining Safety, Mining Finance, and Mining Projects, all the above under the PMBOK approach.

Ax Legal: Could you tell us about some of the challenges facing mines in Peru? Are there any challenges that are specific to Peru?

Juan Oswaldo Luján Montes: If we are talking about a mine that is in operation and wants to implement a new project, I think the most important thing is to focus on the relationship with the communities, understanding the social and environmental aspects. This is necessary for new brownfield projects that involve carrying out activities on the surface or the construction of a new processing plant. Dialogue and a good relationship with stakeholders are key since it facilitates obtaining the respective permits needed.

My advice is to always start the project on good terms with the stakeholders, even more importantly if it can be done from the exploration phase if possible. It is very important that there is a community management strategy and a good approach to the social and environmental investment phase so that the operations of the new mine will be sustainable for the long term. This is the most important thing currently to start a new project in Peru sine community relations have created issues in the past.

Another challenge facing the mining industry is sustainable exploitation. Companies must think about having a mine that is sustainable over time. An underground mine that still has mineral resources implies establishing new strategies for the future so that long-term mining plans are adequate. Lastly, another challenge for companies is to be seen as “green”. That is, companies need to care for the environment and use renewable energies where possbile. 

Ax Legal: What are the current technologies that are interesting for the mines in Peru?

Juan Oswaldo Luján Montes: Some of the more interesting areas where technology is being sought are in the following – 

  • Innovation through advanced technologies that allow greater recovery of metals.
  • Technologies related to the control of production and mine design and planning.
  • Technologies that can help reduce costs when supporting and controlling the rock mass.
  • New machinery with greater automation to carry out specific tasks where process times can be reduced.

Ax Legal: What future technologies will be implemented in the next 5 years that will be interesting for Peruvian mines?

Juan Oswaldo Luján Montes: In open-pit mines, we are seeing the implementation of remote production controls, applying satellite positioning systems, and integrated control in the machinery. In underground mines, basically, the most important thing is to have wireless signal coverage inside the mine to carry out production controls in real-time. Some mines are already choosing to use renewable energy to power mines. Electrical Machinery will be increasingly important. In the mineral treatment processes, the implementation of more sophisticated components that contain better automation and technology is needed.

Ax Legal: Are there any technologies that interest you personally?

Juan Oswaldo Luján Montes: Complementing what was mentioned in the previous question, I also have a personal interest in the following – 

  • I have worked with Wi-Fi signal implementation technology inside an underground mine to do the same thing that is already being done in open pit mines related to real-time control of production.
  • I am interested in the application of new software for geology and mine planning. The most critical thing is that some software does not integrate all the processes that we need. Generally, some software programs only offer partial coverage. Some software is good for some processes but not good at others. In the end, mining companies require several different types of software that are expensive. What prevails, in the end is software that is easier to use and covers everything that a mining company may need.
  • Technological tools related to mining safety, costs and finances, process control, supply chain, and asset control are very interesting.
  • For a better geomechanical control that helps the exploitation of the ore and reduces the risks of its exploitation in underground mines, innovations are being made in the control of seismic movements in the depth of the mines.
  • The implementation of machinery with new remote-control options is necessary, especially underground.
  • Ventilation control is also being implemented in some mines to reduce electrical energy consumption or ventilation on demand (VOD).
  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence are being used in the new software tools; they will be increasingly requested once mining companies better understand the applications and benefits to the mining

Ax Legal: In your opinion, what are the typical problems that foreign companies have when introducing their technology in the mines of Peru?

Juan Oswaldo Luján Montes: The most important thing is to implement technologies that can make processes more efficient since this allows mining companies to optimize their processes and improve profitability.

When introducing new technologies, I believe that the most important thing for Peruvian mines to see that it has worked in other mines. The key factors that mining companies will take into account is the experience of the company in other implementations, and the benefit/cost that will be obtained. Likewise, companies must have some quality certification that is known worldwide. If it is technology that is not widely known, there has to be evidence that it works well or has been tested at a pilot level, or has been certified, in order to not have doubts about its implementation from Peruivan miners who you are trying to introduce it to. 

Ax Legal: What is the process that companies should follow if they have a solution that they would like to introduce to their Peruvian mining industry?

Juan Oswaldo Luján Montes: The introduction of new technologies by suppliers can be through contacts with the technical services area or with the general management team. Management must be convinced that the implementation of new technologies that work worldwide can also be implemented in Peru. Companies that are highly recognized providers with a track record in their home countries implementing their technology will have no problem establishing themselves in Peru. 

Ax Legal is an advisory firm that works with foreign companies in Latin America. Our team of legal and commercial advisors have a distinguished track record of helping foreign technology and services companies to grow and operate in Latin America. Over the years, we have worked with starts up, mid-size businesses, and publicly listed companies. The one common factor that connects are clients is that they are leaders in their field, providing innovative technologies and services to the industrial sectors.

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