Can you give an overview of Solenis?
BG: Solenis is a global specialty chemical manufacturer and one of three water treatment companies with a truly global footprint. Mining is one of our core focus industries. We have a dedicated mining R&D team and a dedicated mining technical applications team. Our mining commercial teams are strategically located around the world in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Australia.
Could you elaborate on your products and services for mining and mineral processing?
BG: We focus on three categories for the mining and mineral processing industry. One of those is the chemical products that we manufacture such as flocculants, antiscalants and water treatment chemicals. The second is unique digitization solutions that we pair with our chemistries, such as our proprietary monitoring and control systems. The final and potentially most important category is the people on our mining team that service and support our chemical and digitization programs. Many on our team are experienced metallurgists and experienced mineral processing operations and maintenance leaders.
What are Solenis’ chemical production capabilities and recent investments?
BG: Solenis has 47 primary manufacturing facilities strategically located around the world, which makes for convenient logistics for our global customers. Nevada is supplied from our production plants in the US. In terms of new investments, we have a new powder flocculant production facility located in the US that we have recently commissioned. We plan to continue investing in increased manufacturing capacity both domestically and globally.
LD: Our plants are in advantageous locations, which is particularly important today as shipping is facing constant delays and putting customers at risk. Customers rely on us for asset availability and it is imperative to maintain inventories of critical consumables such as specialty chemicals.
What demand trends have you experienced for your products over the last two years?
BG: We have experienced an increased overall demand for mining and mineral processing specialty chemicals in recent years. We have also experienced an increased focus by mine operators on the reliability of supply, particularly related to availability of raw materials, manufacturing of finished goods and logistics. Many mine operators are seeking partnerships with actual primary manufacturers such as Solenis rather than resellers in an effort to manage risk and improve asset reliability. The recent global supply chain disruptions have put a greater emphasis on domestic manufacturing capabilities. The pandemic has created a demand on local resources for site service and support rather than travelers from out of state. Inflation is motivating the creation of more strategic contractual partnerships to manage inflationary costs. There is also a demand for new high-performance chemistries and digitalization technologies to enhance operational efficiencies.
Can you provide examples of Solenis’ latest innovations to improve safety and efficiency?
LD: Mines are currently experiencing important bottlenecks, so we are working on digitization and optimization. Therefore, we let an algorithm control operations, as opposed to just relying on a human decision. We are also working on improvements on our OnGuard online digitization control methodology used on leach pads. We recently implemented a digitization program on a leach pad at a mine in Nevada, which resulted in a reduction in chemistry consumption and an improvement of over 10% in recovered ounces off those leach pads. Solenis is leading the way in partnering up with mining operations going forward in this digitization area.
We also offer an OnGuard Online data management service, which is a tool that allows both us and our customers to see the performance of the chemistry on mobile devices using cloud-based data. This platform is being upgraded for 2022.
BG: Mining and mineral processing inherently has fluctuating demand for specialty chemicals based on variable minerology and processing plant operating conditions. We can help enhance efficiency by automatically matching our chemical feed rates with varying process demand. Solenis achieves unique efficiencies for our customers due to our proprietary combination of feed forward and feedback automation and control capabilities. For example, a Solenis OnGuard controller can constantly adjust our antiscalant chemical feed to the optimal rate based on computational analysis of feed forward process data from online sensors and analyzers combined with feedback data from an OnGuard 3S online scale monitor.