Engineering & Mining Journal

JUL 2019

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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Page 27 of 67

SHOTCRETE 26 E&MJ • JULY 2019 The future of the shotcrete solutions space is bright, according to longtime ex- pert Fabian Erismann. According to him, societal trends all but guarantee opportu- nities for companies in the space with the right solutions, services and technology. Take, for example, the trend in electri- fication of transportation, something that will require massive amounts of metals the reserves of which are in general decline at the world's biggest pits. "When we talk about the energy revolution, this will not be possible without large future underground projects that mine for gold and nickel and copper, and all these other metals that are used for the energy revolution," Erismann said. "We are very positive not only for the overall underground construction industry but particularly for mining." However, he said, all shotcrete solu- tions suppliers are not equally positioned. Those that can provide key technologies of course are at an advantage. More crit- ically, he said, is the ability to provide complete solutions that enable rapid mine development. Indeed, it would appear the biggest suppliers in the space appear to be locked in a race to supply exactly that. Integrated Solutions Sourced Locally With two significant acquisitions in the global shotcrete solutions space in the last year, Sika Services AG, with key contracts at some of the biggest projects in the world, reported it is growing its market share. In June 2018, Sika announced it acquired Fibermesh, a concrete fibers supplier, from Propex Holding LLC. The acquisition netted a U.S. plant, sales op- erations globally, and a "strong brand," Sika reported. Based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, Fibermesh reported it had devel- oped a five-year "growing relationship" with Sika, and that its brand is a "great fit" for the Sika's portfolio. Sika described the Fibermesh brand as "the industry standard" and reported the acquisition will "further expand our offer- ing to concrete customers worldwide." In March 2019, Sika acquired King Packaged Materials Co., a Canadian manufacturer of shotcrete. "With the acquisition, Sika will further expand its geographical footprint in Canada and im- prove its growth potential," the company reported. "The acquisition will make Sika one of the leading suppliers of concrete solutions in Canada." With 180 employees, King operates plants in Quebec, Ontario and Sudbury. Leadership at Sika reported both ac- quisitions are "quite important" and situate the company well. "We are very optimistic," Fabian Erismann, market field manager, mining, Sika, said. "We think with underground construction and in particular mining, we will see strong growth in the years to come." Demand rising from the ongoing en- ergy revolution and the shift to electric vehicles is expected to push miners to extend existing underground projects, expand aging pit projects with new un - derground extensions, or break ground on new underground projects. "The trend is clear; the trend is underground," Er- ismann said. "We see a strong growth in these kinds of projects, like we already see today. By 2035 or so, a substantial part of global copper production will be sourced from large underground cave projects, which are very challenging." And Sika has experience at some of the largest block- and sublevel-cave un - derground projects in the world. For example, at Chuquicamata Under- ground, Sika is "providing a range of prod- ucts and support for wet-mix shotcrete, fibers, conventional concrete, self-com- pacting concrete and products for main- tenance of the large ore treatment facil- ity on site," the company reported. Sika was "awarded 70% of the total concrete admixture business technologies for the underground infrastructure." The block cave operation has been de- signed to provide a potential 40-year life targeting an orebody made of 1.7 billion Supplying the Rapid-development Mine Shotcrete solutions suppliers are racing to develop safer and smarter solutions and services for the continuous ops of tomorrow By Jesse Morton, Technical Writer Sika provides comprehensive solutions at an underground operation in Switzerland. (Photo: Sika Services AG)

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