Interview : Mariela García
How can heavy machinery help optimise mining?
MARIELA GARCÍA: While the sector awaits large-scale tenders, heavy machinery and vehicles are being used at full capacity in almost all mining operations. The Cat portfolio, which includes a 400-tonne mining truck, is leading the domestic market. The role of heavy machinery does not end, but rather starts, with its sale and continues throughout the machine’s life cycle. As occurred in the 2015-17 period, suppliers can help mining companies maximise the use of machinery, get the most efficiency from capital assets, decrease their expenses and maintain the operational capacity of mines according to their planned expenditure.
In what ways is mining spurring innovation?
GARCÍA: Innovation has gained momentum, particularly since 2016, and the academic world is enhancing these efforts. There are an increasing number of organisations that foster innovation and attract large companies. The government is also providing incentives to companies performing such activities. Mining in particular is helping bring solutions developed abroad to Peru, supporting the local innovation-oriented mindset.
We are part of this wave. Innovation goes beyond digitalisation; it entails updating business plans and the portfolios of products. In mining, this is key to enhancing fleet monitoring and anticipating repairs. Technology and knowledge have expanded our ability to create value for our customers: it is possible to predict the most efficient repair cycles, assess the health of machinery, analyse client use, enhance the efficiency of operations and optimise machinery performance.
Lastly, innovation and data collection allows us to increase the security of operations. For instance, it is possible to monitor the state of equipment operators and send an alert if they are showing signs of fatigue or distraction, which will help to prevent accidents. We are also working on autonomous vehicles that will further improve safety, mainly in underground operations.
What is the near-term outlook for machinery sales?
GARCÍA: Greenfield mining projects are increasingly interested in acquiring new machinery, with some set to begin construction in the near term. In recent years – when annual mining investment did not exceed $5bn, which is a moderate amount – we were still able to expand the domestic fleet of Cat mining trucks. Considering this, one can only have an optimistic outlook for machinery and equipment, especially considering the upward trend in global mining prices.
How can companies cooperate with local communities to ensure the sustainability of projects?
GARCÍA: It is essential to cooperate with the communities where mining projects take place. Integrating them into the value chain will allow them to participate in and benefit from the success of a mine site. Companies may, for example, provide earth-moving services and other solutions, or train mechanics and operators in specialised machinery. We are actively supporting the development of heavy equipment technicians and operators, which has been very successful. As partners of companies, machinery suppliers must also help build a more sustainable mining industry.
What are the main challenges of expanding abroad?
GARCÍA: The country has experienced radical change in recent years. High growth has allowed companies to consider investing abroad and serve expanded markets. Attracting the right human capital and defining the model of internationalisation is key to succeeding abroad. Thus far, it has proven successful to maintain part of the original structure, even at the management level, during expansion. However, the lack of legal and tax frameworks for capital repatriation can be a major concern. In fact, Peru only has a few double-taxation agreements with international partners. To this end, the regulatory framework should take into account the fact that Peru has become a net exporter of capital.