"Chile has had some difficult years recently, but due to the surprising increase in the value of copper and the government's actions to reboot the economy, it seems very likely that all the investment projects that have been planned will continue."
Can you give an overview of Edyce and the company's role in the mining industry?
Edyce has a history of over 70 years in Chile and has been involved in all of the big mining developments of the last decades. The mining industry has always been our primary industry of operation and represents approximately 75% of our revenue. Our core business is the fabrication of structural steel for mining and industrial buildings. We have the largest production capacity in Chile and South America of 3,000 tons of structural steel per month, complemented by our other services such as structural steel erection and modularization.
What are some of the main mining sites Edyce is working on?
Currently we are working on Teck Resources’ Quebrada Blanca phase 2 project as well as Antofagasta Minerals’ INCO project at Minera Los Pelambres. Both projects have come into the construction phase over the last two years, and we continue to serve our clients who are trying to recover from delays caused by the pandemic. The economic outlook for the rest of 2021 and 2022 looks promising, and we are confident that the project development pipeline of different mining companies will be executed as planned. Chile has had some difficult years recently, but due to the surprising increase in the value of copper and the government's actions to reboot the economy, it seems very likely that all the investment projects that have been planned will continue and that Edyce will be involved in all of them.
Some issues that were being slowly addressed by the mining industry have now been forced into acceleration due to the pandemic. Edyce was already working towards helping the mining industry to increase productivity and improving in terms of human capital, safety, and environmental issues through initiatives such as modularization and offsite construction. With greater importance now falling on optimization of all these issues, we believe that there is more opportunity than ever for us to further serve the industry. The acceleration of incorporating more technology and advancements into the entire value chain of the mining process will be greatly beneficial to the industry as well as the overall economy.
What technological innovations or processes is Edyce incorporating into its operations?
As we have an industrial plant, we always try to keep up with the latest technology available. It is incredible how many innovations have flourished over the last few years, even more so with the virus' outbreak. We are currently incorporating a new technology that will be part of our production process in mid-April 2021. Edyce will be using IoT technology on every machine where our productivity will be measured by smart devices and have information about the functionality and performance 24/7. There have also been significant advances in robotic welding and we hope to incorporate a new automatic welding line in 2022. New innovations implemented are planned to increase efficiency, productivity, quality, as well as better health and safety conditions for our workers.
All of these innovations finally have many field applications: Prefabrication, Pre-Assembly, Modularization and Off-Site Construction and have the potential to significantly reduce project schedule, improve productivity, reduce labour costs and improve safety and environmental conditions. Our facilities in Talcahuano, with direct access to ports, and our Modularization site at Antofagasta, allow us to offer these strong value proposals to our mining and industrial clients.
How do you see the changes in the Chilean constitution impacting mining investment?
Chile is in a very particular political situation as it is undergoing a pivotal process: rewriting the constitution. This has created more awareness of the importance of improving the work environment and I believe that the role companies play in society will be under review. Society will demand that business operations are in harmony with the environment and individuals' livelihoods.
Many initiatives regarding productivity will now also address the above-mentioned requirements. I am of the opinion that the new constitution will strengthen the industry and I believe that Edyce is in an excellent position to adjust to the requirements. Chile's path is in many ways very similar to the path that other already developed countries followed. There are always voices of concern, especially when it comes to change, but I believe the outcome depends on how we respond to the challenge and I am very optimistic for the way forward for Chile.