Francis McCann, General Manager – Toronto,


"We worked with our clients to find creative ways for our experts to complete site investigations. This included using drones and live-streamed video for remote assessments as well as creating training videos and video conferencing."

Have you noticed optimism return to the market in 2021, considering the high metals prices?

Overall, we have seen that mining companies are eager to take advantage of the increased prices, either through optimization of their current projects or by bringing online new projects. However, one has to be cautious not to have a repeat of the mistakes of the previous upcycle when a number of companies chased metal prices. Mines need to really understand the cycle and develop a thorough strategy optimization process instead of a scenario optimization process. Complete strategy optimization helps reduce risks by positioning oneself to be relatively stable across the price cycle so as not to be reliant on one scenario.

Which of AMC’s services have been in high demand over the last 12 months?

During 2020 the company officially formed an Advisory division to provide specialized services in areas such as performance diagnostics, strategy optimization, geometallurgy and value engineering. These services have been in high demand since their official launch.

Which projects has AMC worked on in Peru in recent years?

Peru is one of our focus areas in Latin America and some of the Peruvian clients we worked with over the years include Gold Fields, MMG-Las Bambas, Hudbay Minerals, Marcobre and Glencore. In South America, AMC has also been active in Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, and Argentina.

We’ve heard that AMC has a database that’s unique in the mining industry. Could you talk a little more about it?

Yes, AMC’s Smart Data™ is not just a database but also a rigorous system and the world’s most comprehensive data set of both open pit and underground mines. We’ve built it over two decades from independently verified, site-level data. This means that we can use the data to help our clients make decisions truly comparable to their situation, and far deeper than the data other consultants rely on. It is at the core of everything we do, allowing us to use site-validated data to support our work and recommendations.

How has AMC worked with clients when it is not possible to have boots on the ground?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, AMC’s strong remote work culture, including the flexible working arrangements we offer our staff, and the global nature of our project teams, meant that our staff were able to apply self-isolation procedures where appropriate without any disruptions to our work. We also worked with our clients to find creative ways for our experts to complete site investigations. This included using drones and live streamed video for remote assessments as well as creating training videos and video conferencing in the local language.

Can you speak about Peru as a mining jurisdiction considering political risk vs geological potential?

Peru is a great mining jurisdiction that is extremely well-endowed in terms of mineral resources. The country also currently has a good investment climate and a wide range of mining companies producing a breadth of work, which is attractive for service companies.

From a political risk perspective, Peru does present some current challenges for mining due to the political instability over the past couple of years and the differing viewpoints being presented by candidates in the 2021 election. In the end, the Peruvian people will have their say in the direction that the country will develop and where the mining industry fits within that vision.

To what extent do you think the pandemic has accelerated the implementation of digital solutions in the mining industry?

There has been a digitalization trend within the mining industry for years, which has been accelerated by the pandemic. We are seeing that some companies are faster to adapt and adopt than others. In my opinion, technology is great, but technology just for technology’s sake does not necessarily support or add benefit. You have to think about technology strategically, how you want to use it, and if it can be used to the extent that it provides you with the right information. I believe that technologies that support automation, remote operation of equipment and iROC type centers are areas where the industry can get the most value for investment.