"In Chile we are currently increasing our capabilities in other areas like Big Data and AI because we see significant room for adding value with this expertise due the complexity in copper ore bodies today."
Can you introduce to us SGS in Chile and its role in the mining industry?
SGS is a world leader in the provision of TIC (Testing, Inspection, and Certification). Our services are primarily dedicated to the mining industry in Chile, representing 90% of our sales. We have a whole metallurgical department dedicated to assisting customers in improving their mineral processing. Meanwhile, our geological department provides certificates for exploration, and the engineering department supports brownfield projects. SGS covers the entire mining value chain from exploration until certification of final product in mining ports, passing through plant design, engineering, processes control and optimization, modelling for production plans, and closure. In Chile we are currently increasing our capabilities in other areas like Big Data and AI, leveraging the global SGS knowledge from areas different than mining because we see significant room for adding value to our mining customers with this expertise due the complexity in copper ore bodies today.
How did you maintain business continuity amid the pandemic?
Our priorities at the beginning were focused on maintaining our support service to our clients while keeping our staff safe, supporting a strategy of headcount reduction on mine sites as well. We implemented some radical changes and modifications to our day-to-day activities to continue operating since the mining industry and production were not halted. The market has undergone massive changes in the last two years regarding the manner of communication with clients, which Covid-19 accelerated even further. Some of the modifications we introduced include remote inspection and the elimination of closed space offices. We developed a single open space office called "Co-Work" where our employees can work as a flexible cell and connect physically when they need to.
To what extent are you integrating technological platforms into your service offering?
SGS communicates with clients using an online platform where they can easily access the testing process, results and timeline from any device. We also offer remote certification and assistance where the laboratory equipment can be connected from a distance to move data and analyse it. While all of these processes were available as part of our offering in the past, companies started paying more attention to these services in 2020. Mining companies were more cautious and conservative in the past regarding sharing data.
SGS is looking for partners in AI in Chile and elsewhere to advance and develop further its digital offering.
Can you elaborate on SGS’s mobile laboratories solution?
Previously, we operated using a central laboratory where all the collected samples were analyzed. Today, we offer solutions such as a laboratory owned by the customer on-site, while we provide the expertise and analysis services. Another creative solution we implemented is SGS’s mobile laboratory, which moves flexibly to different sites, taking advantage of our expertise and experience in real-time at the remotest locations. Both solutions allow for the rapid processing of samples and data, especially when taking into account the rapid communication technologies under development, such as 5G.
Which of SGS’s services has been the most popular in the Chilean mining industry recently?
SGS Eng & Optimization area has been developing Asset Integrity monitoring project in a remote manner, modelling the performance of critical assets supporting operational continuity and FTEs reduction. In addition, our metallurgical support has gained more traction recently, as we offer a comprehensive range of unit operations in support of flowsheet development and metallurgical process design such as flotation, comminution and beneficiation, gravity separation and others. We are also witnessing that the geological aspect of mining in Chile is becoming increasingly challenging for both open-pit and underground operations. Therefore, we see a growth potential for our services in this aspect.
Our comprehensive service portfolio is our biggest strength in the market, as we provide support from upstream to downstream processes. Our value proposition is based on the reliability of our processes supported by SGS’s customer-centric culture, flexibility, adaptation and speed.
Where does SGS see the highest growth potential in the upcoming years?
We are fortunate to have developed into a company with tremendous capabilities, expertise and state of the arts equipment in our laboratories. We want to utilize our capabilities to facilitate our growth by satisfying the needs of our customers to the highest degree possible. It is effortless for companies to declare their operations as sustainable, but actually to act upon it that is what differentiates corporate cultures. SGS is determined to innovate in a sustainable manner and live up to its sustainability promise to become the ideal partner in the mining industry.