"The market still sees Master Drilling as a drilling company, but these days we are really a technology company."
What is Master Drilling’s current footprint worldwide, and how significant is the Peruvian market for the company?
Master Drilling has a presence in more than 19 countries, with 26 offices worldwide. The Peruvian market is extremely important to us. From our Peruvian offices we are also managing Ecuador, Colombia, and Guatemala, with Brazil, Mexico and Chile having their own offices and general managers. We pride ourselves on tailoring solutions to meet the specific conditions and geographical challenges faced by our clients.
Who are Master Drilling’s main clients in Peru in 2021?
Our client portfolio contains the main mining companies in Peru. Our current active clients include Volcan, where we have worked at their Chungar, Andaychagua and San Cristobal mines. We also provide services to Sierra Metals’ Yauricocha mine, Minera Bateas’ Caylloma mine in Arequipa, Trafigura’s Catalina Huanca mine, and the Casapalca mine in center of Peru. We have been involved in different projects with Buenaventura and we are currently in operation at their Uchucchacua project. We are developing Hochschild Mining’s Inmaculada mine.
At the moment, raise boring equipment and support services account for all of our business in Peru, but the company is expanding from Peru with exploration drilling services.
Master Drilling is a pioneer of horizontal raise boring (HRB) technology. Can you elaborate on how HRB differs to traditional raise boring, and what type of operations it suits?
Master Drilling’s HRB solution was developed to replace drill and blast activities, which are aggressive and can be harmful. HRB technology is used to create horizontal excavation between two existing tunnels in an underground mine. It is mostly used for ventilation shafts from the surface to underground, but also assists in providing access for personnel or material underground. Compared to conventional methods of excavation, HRB is safer, quicker, there are no explosives used, no rock fractures associated with blasting, you get more accurate excavation, the operation is autonomous, and the solution is more cost-effective.
The general trend is that mines are getting deeper and are venturing into more unchartered territories. Therefore, raise bore drilling machines must be able to drill deeper, faster and more accurately. To ensure that rod handling is easy and quick with the minimum human intervention to reduce risk, all our machines are automated (with pipe handlers & feeders) and a control panel provide readings to the operator.
In March 2021, Master Drilling announced a 40% investment in data-driven mine management solution company, AVA Solutions. What were the reasons behind this transaction?
The market still sees Master Drilling as a drilling company, but these days we are really a technology company. We are innovating and focused on delivering top quality services at the most competitive costs. The AVA acquisition is aligned with the idea is to change the company’s profile from being seen as a drilling company to now being seen as a technology provider. We are continuously looking for new technology solutions that make sense to our business and are for the benefit of our customers. AVA has excellent fleet management solutions that are easy to install, cheap and fast.
In terms of challenges and opportunities, how would you compare Peru to other mining jurisdictions?
Covid has had an impact on the entire world and we need to learn how to adapt to a new working environment. I believe that the market is good according to the good prices of minerals and that our clients will continue their operations, but that Peru mining will not be a growing sector for a while.
In terms of our specific market, there is increasing local competition that drives us to take another look at our strategy. This is one of the reasons why Master Drilling wants to be perceived as a technology provider that offers innovative solutions to the market. We want to challenge the status quo to provide our clients with specialized, adaptive, one-stop drilling solutions.
Why do you think Master Drilling’s method of working adds value to mining clients?
We service our clients by conceptualizing, developing and delivering the equipment they need, with a firm focus on ongoing support and continuous portfolio innovation. This starts with the design and manufacturing of our products, and extends to training, high operating quality and continued maintenance. We provide operational support and complete project management for all our drill rigs.