Mexico’s favorable economic performance and recent improvements has led to the emergence of several important industry ‘clusters.’ These clusters (networks of organizations and institutions with common interests) are developing to create opportunity and advantage contributing to a large share of the country’s global exports.
As we have seen high technology companies clustering around knowledge-producing institutions, we also now see the mining industry following in this pattern. There are well known mining cluster examples located around the northern part of Mexico. Studying the symbiotic relationships of these industry clusters is advantageous in that it identifies opportunities for growth and strategic targeting in regards to the supplier-manufacturer-purchaser value chain.
FLSmidth’s Mexico team became one of the co-founding companies of the Zacatecas Mining Cluster (ClusMin) organization in 2011. As a part of the Zacatecas Cluster’s objectives to continue to strengthen and develop the mining industry in the region, FLSmidth and members of ClusMin recently hosted the “Technical Solutions for Tailings Management and Water Reuse” seminar.
The main goal for the conference was to demonstrate the best systems for saving water in the mining sector. Fifty-seven mining specialists from across Mexico attended the conference to learn, network and share their ideas of what can be done to make improvements.
FLSmidth helped in hosting the event and several of their experts were on hand to present a holistic viewpoint of the advantages of Dry Stack Tailings.
"The mining industry depends on water, so it is very important to care for it, as water is a non-renewable resource. We are contributing by changing the processes to recover more water and lessen the impact to the environmental. Also, FLSmidth’s tailings management solution contributes to the social responsibility needed within the mining business,” said José Luis Garcia Monterrubio, FLSmidth – Customer Service.
When new technologies such as dry stack tailings (DST) are implemented within different processes of the mine, it has be shown to save up to 15 -20 percent of the wastewater, which can then be recycled within the plant.
Monterrubio continued, "Mine tailings are difficult to handle. But using the right techniques we can have a positive water recycling impact, because mines will reduce their needs for fresh water. This again has an impact on aquifers which represents water savings and reduces the costs of water that the mining industry has to process for operation."
By invitation from FLSmidth, María Inés Hurtado Cárdenas, representative of the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) also attended and contributed to the seminar. Cárdenas explained the current status of legislature around NOM-141 that regulates mine tailings in Mexico, which specifies only traditional tailings but not dry tailings. Cárdenas concluded that, "Unlike other regulations, the Official Mexican Standards (NOM) only establish the requirements, but do not explain the how to achieve these requirements. This keeps interpretation open for mining companies to use the best technology available to their knowledge."
To support the DST discussion, FLSmidth presented is comprehensive DST product portfolio solution, which was supported with a case study on “Dry Stack Tailings at Cuzcatlan.”
Participants at the seminar included representatives from Minera Autlán, Capstone Gold, Minera Sabinas Unit, Minera El Pilon, DISCIMSA, Mining Units El Toro, La Parrilla, La Encantada and Customer Service of First Majestic, Grupo México Engineering Services, Grupo México, Minera Santa Barbara, Mina El Porvenir, Minera Electrum, Fresnillo, El Roble, Madero, Saucito, MRT, Torex Gold, Minera Real de Angeles, and Specialized Services Peñoles; as well as the Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN – Federal University Campus Zacatecas).
After the conference, FLSmidth hosted a networking activity to continue discussing opportunities in the mining sector. The whole event helped strengthen relationships and build a more united focus on developing the local economy and figuring out better ways to tackle challenges, such as water scarcity.
Click for more information on FLSmidth’s Dry Stack Tailings capabilities.
*Parts of this article were drawn and translated from an article published by the Mexican Mining Chamber (Camara de Mineria de Mexico - Camimex) and text from the Mining Cluster Zacatecas.