The Business Year

Ryan McEachern

COLOMBIA - Energy & Mining

Ryan McEachern

Managing Director,, Mining Suppliers Trade Association Canada (MSTA CANADA)

Bio

TBY talks to Ryan McEachern, Managing Director of Mining Suppliers Trade Association Canada (MSTA CANADA).

How are you seeing mining operators introduce such technologies into their operations?

In the past four to five years, there has been a lag of adoption for various reasons. There is a desire and need for these solutions to be implemented; the issue that mining companies are struggling with is how to implement the technology into existing operations and a business model. They are struggling with how to fit it into the operational flow sheet, because some of the solutions may disrupt something downstream in the process. We are currently at the stage where they are trying to figure out how to do this. Mine managers like to de-risk and see someone else be the first mover. We call that first to be second. To de-risk, we need to show the solutions in a real environment, and places like NORCAT in Sudbury, Ontario, are providing that opportunity. Also, mining companies want to make sure whatever they are procuring is being supported locally, and a country such as Colombia is no exception to this. Having boots on the ground is key to making this successful. That is why the majority of suppliers from Canada are looking for local representation. The key is to build up the capacity of skills locally to support some of these solutions A great deal can be done with technology such as using AR and VR to solve problems remotely but having a local person will be the preferred option for the foreseeable future, and that is where the opportunities for local employment lie.

What opportunities are there in Colombia for Canadian and international mining suppliers?

It all starts with opportunity. What we see in Colombia is a tremendous opportunity for the growth of developing the mineral resource industry in this country. It has such a large, untapped mineral endowment. We see Canadian mining companies coming here with their expertise to help develop these resources responsibly, which provides opportunities for the suppliers that will provide the needed supply chain. MSTA CANADA has always seen Colombia as an important emerging market, and we still believe it is. Hopefully, Colombia will see how resource development can be done responsibly and provide communities business opportunities as opposed to being a threat. 

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