Opportunities for Canadian Mining Companies in Latin America

Canadian mining companies in Latin America have experienced significant successes in their operations in the region. Barrick Gold, Yamana Gold and First Quantum Minerals are among many Canadian companies benefiting from Latin America’s large reserves of natural resources. From Mexico down to Chile and Argentina, Canadian investment in the region has reached unseen figures.

It is not only the excavation of minerals that provides opportunities for mining companies. There are also extensive opportunities for Canadian mining service companies. The growth in the natural resource sector has created a whole new service market. The provision of services that support mining operations has taken off in Latin America.

Expand your Canadian mining company to Latin America

Canadian companies that have capabilities and key assets should consider transferring their expertise to Latin American markets.  A consumer- and producer-wide focus on sustainability requires innovation and alternative energy usage.

Here, we have look at some of the biggest opportunities to explore for Canadian mining companies in Latin America.

truck belonging to a Canadian mining company in Latin America
Canadian companies that have capabilities and key assets should consider transferring their expertise to Latin American markets.

Battery electric vehicles

The increasing popularity of electric cars in developed markets is very obvious. Lithium, graphite cobalt and nickel are used in batteries and investment in these minerals and metals has been colossal since the rise of EVs. Uber fleets are dominated by Toyota Prius models and Tesla charging stations are popping up in high-end shopping complexes and hotels. Various governments continue to offer incentives to encourage consumers to go electric, subsidising the higher prices they command. As gas becomes more and more expensive, it is not only domestic customers that are considering electric vehicles.

Case study: Maclean Engineering

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are making their way into mines. Zero emissions, a quiet engine, and lower running costs are among a number of reasons why mining companies are turning towards electric vehicles to help operate their mines. Maclean Engineering is a Canadian company that has managed to release a BEV option of their original Blockholder model. What’s more, the firm has been innovative in its approach to charging batteries while maintaining productivity. The battery charges “on-board”, reducing machinery downtime as batteries recharge or are swapped out.

Canadian mining service companies with expertise in electric vehicle and battery maintenance will see increasing demand for support services as BEVs become more widely used in mining operations. Likewise, those looking to reduce their carbon footprint while maximising productivity and operations may consider onboarding a BEV into their fleet of vehicles.

Water management

Conflict regarding water and its usage in mining operations has increased over the last decade. Subsequently, water management has become an increasingly relevant and important topic for Canadian mining companies in Latin America. Mineral processing requires extremely large quantities of water and there is a current worldwide shortage. It is now up to firms to innovate traditional practices and find ways to decrease their environmental impact. Water is scarce in many mining regions in Latin America, as well as other parts of the world. Sustainability must be the way forward, in order to maintain efficient and productive mining operations, as well as protecting the natural environment and populations living in these areas.

Canadian companies with technological expertise in water monitoring systems will find many eager customers in Latin America.

Case study: Helmholtz Institute Feiberg

Engineers at Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) have been researching how water composition can be tested and analysed to see whether water can be reused. Such technology will be popular with companies trying to lessen their water consumption. Operational efficiencies can also be achieved as the consumption of freshwater diminishes, so does the time spent procuring a fresh water supply. The result is optimised water sources and no compromise on operations quality.

Increasing digitisation of processes in methods in the mining industry means the opportunities to implement and standardise new technologies increase each day. Latin America is an excellent option for Canadian companies to test new products and measure their efficiency effects in real-time.

Canadian mining company in Latin America
Increasing digitisation of processes in methods in the mining industry means the opportunities to implement and standardise new technologies increase each day.

Hydropower

While water scarcity continues to be an issue, we need to rethink how we use the precious supply water we do have access to. Hydropower is not only a renewable energy source but it also low-carbo, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Latin America holds 20% of the world’s hydropower capacity, yet only one quarter of yet is being used. The majority of this capacity is yet to be explored. This creates exciting opportunities for Canadian companies with capabilities in sustainable energy production, particularly that using water. Developing hydropower projects are not without their challenges, however, the potential payoffs for business, the immediate community and larger region are huge.

As mining operations are often the largest energy consumer in a remote area, investing in hydropower energy combats energy stability issues. Although complex, it is not above a mine to build and operate its own hydropower project. Canada is one of the world’s leading hydroelectricity producers.

Canadian companies with experience maintaining such energy projects in Canada or abroad should consider how their expertise could transfer to Latin American mining economies. In Peru, there are already a number of hydropower projects constructed that service the needs of mining companies. These projects show how small-scale energy product can fully servicing a mining operation, and be maintained efficiently. The ability to leverage hydropower’s benefits to surrounding communities may enable local support as well as that from the country’s government.

Automation

golden data chips held up by machine
Smart solutions now mean robotics can process many of the dangerous activities in the mining industry.

Any workplace considered as high-risk as mines requires more and more automation. Smart solutions now mean robotics can process many of the dangerous activities in the mining industry. Unmanned trucks are just the beginning. Robotic drilling systems that can capture and transmit mapped images continue to be developed. Technavio predicts robotics used within the mining industry to grow by 27.01% over the next two years. Mining is now entering its technology disruption phase. This means the next decade will see safer and more productive mines, powered by high-end automation and use of robotics. Companies need to jump at this opportunity to gain a first-mover advantage in Latin America and assist companies to implement and maintain robotics into their mining operations.

Innovation transforming mining services

While the United States is a market leader in mining automation technologies, significant developments have been made within Canada. The Swedish Mining Automation Group (SMAG) have had a major impact in introducing new mining technologies and progressive automation into Canadian mining. Historically a technologically conservative industry, it is now home to some of the most innovating mining service companies in the world. 

Canadian mining companies come from a long line of mining heritage and can leverage their knowledge and expertise in foreign markets. Automation can innovate traditional health and safety practices, as well as increase productivity and efficiency. The opportunity to train staff on automation technologies and robotics, as well as provide maintenance services will be extremely lucrative in the coming few years.

Get specialist support to expand your mining company into Latin America

If you want to take advantage of the opportunities Latin America offers for foreign mining companies, you’ll need support from a specialist to get started.

At Biz Latin Hub, our mining lawyers offer a full suite of market entry and back office services, customizable to the needs of your company. We operate across Latin America, providing market leading support in company formation, due diligence, accounting and taxation, and visa processing activities, among others.

Reach out to us today here at Biz Latin Hub for customized support and assistance tailored to your company.

Learn more about our team and expert authors.

Opportunities for Mining Service Companies in Latin America

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