"Metals prices are cyclical and have many variabilities, but correct construction planning can help guarantee success in the short, medium and long term."
How has Ingeniería y Construcción Sigdo Koppers dealt with the challenge of Covid-19?
Covid-19 has been a test of ICSK’s capacity to adapt, to be more agile, and forge closer relationships with our clients and collaborators. The sanitary measures in place have forced the different parts of the value chain to work together in unison, rather than as separate entities. Some contracts were impacted, but the main investments have been maintained. Today, we have 28 projects in execution, and we have worked hard to maintain these contracts for the benefit of our workers and their families, which equal thousands of people. Because Sigdo Koppers works in various countries, we have received daily feedback regarding the best sanitary practices from different jurisdictions, and this constant sharing of knowledge has allowed us to adopt international best standards.
Can you give examples of some of the standout mining projects Ingeniería y Construcción Sigdo Koppers has worked on in recent years?
In Peru, we have worked on the Toromocho project for Chinalco, a client that ICSK has been working with for almost 20 years. The other standout project in Peru has been the sulfides area at Mina Justa for Marcobre. In particular, we have been recognized for our standards of technical proficiency, security and occupational health by these clients.
In Chile, we have been focused on underground mining, doing structural work for Codelco at Chuquicamata, and the new ore transporting system for Codelco’s Andina division. We have also been working on the Valdivia cellulose plant for Arauco, which has been technically demanding and requires many workers. By August, we have already returned to pre-Covid levels of capacity at these projects.
What would you say to mining companies looking to take advantage of rising metals prices by fast-tracking construction?
Rising metals prices have certainly increased the appetite for project development. However, our experience has taught us that it is wise to thoroughly plan all aspects of a construction project, in terms of cost, optimization, incorporation of technology, engineering and due diligence. This is key to the success of a project, and any company trying to rush this process could encounter problems. Metals prices are cyclical and have many variabilities, but correct construction planning can help guarantee success in the short, medium and long term. Today, ICSK likes to offer a complete package of engineering, construction and assembly, and work together with clients from an early stage of their projects through to the end, to ensure a seamless project development process.
How is Ingeniería y Construcción Sigdo Koppers incorporating new technology in its processes and projects?
With regard to innovation, two years ago ICSK revised its processes to give the company more flexibility to deal with market variables such as the price of copper, changes to the environment, and stricter health and safety regulations. We have focused on challenging traditional paradigms, including a constant search for new collaborators, including technology providers and niche engineering firms. Within the Sigdo Koppers’ group, a company called Godelius supports and implements technological developments in the mining and natural resources market, offering solutions for mine safety, monitoring centers (NOC), content distribution, IP productivity, IT infrastructure and IT/Industrial convergence.
The construction industry is behind other sectors from an innovation standpoint, and needs to reduce the technology gap that exists. ICSK wants to push these boundaries, and not just accept that because things have been done a certain way for many years, they should continue in that manner.
As governments look to revive economies with infrastructure-based stimulus packages, what role can the construction industry play in generating wealth and employment?
The key point is that construction and assembly companies work directly with local communities. Our industry has an intensive use of resources, and because of the scale of projects companies like ICSK work on, we bring a level of training and expertise that helps elevate working standards and professional experience for communities. Over time, this reduces the need for a foreign workforce and makes communities self-sufficient to take on complicated projects. In the 22 years ICSK has worked in Peru, we have witnessed the development of an extremely talented and capable local workforce. This in-country capacity will be the engine for economic revival.
What is Ingeniería y Construcción Sigdo Koppers vision in Peru moving forward?
ICSK wants to consolidate its position as a company of reference in Peru. Importantly, we want to do business in a transparent and open manner, with the highest level of compliance. We believe the best way to work is in unison with clients and reinforce the trust that is key to a long-term relationship. As an industry, we need to be flexible in the way we work and question traditional paradigms, not only to deal with the current situation, but to position ourselves in the best way for future growth.