"By making the road more stable, less friction between the tire and the road occurs, and the vehicle becomes more fuel-efficient. The other aspect is water consumption. Given the water shortage around the globe, using water to control dust is counter-productive."
Cypher Environmental is celebrating 10 years since it was founded. Could you introduce the company?
Cypher Environmental started with a two-fold mission directed to our mining clients: to reduce their environmental footprint and simultaneously reduce operating costs. Cypher offers two primary products – a road stabilizer and a dust suppressant. The road stabilizer acts on high clay content road materials by counteracting some of the negative properties of clay-a material which swells and loses its strength when it gets wet. The product, known as EarthZyme, is a highly concentrated liquid that can be easily applied using standard equipment and techniques. Once applied to the road, the product significantly increases the road’s density and CBR (Californian Bearing Ratio), which in turn results in better road performance, especially during and after the rainy season, as well as reduced fuel consumption of the haul fleet. Our other product is called Dust Stop, whose primary goal is to reduce dust, and can be used on any surface, including reduction of wind and water erosion of tailings piles.
What are the cost and environmental benefits that Cypher’s products offer?
Both products lead to savings in the long term. Usually, roads are made with gravel, an often expensive and difficult to find material, while we offer a cheaper alternative with cheaper road maintenance costs too. But the major savings are achieved by reducing rolling resistance - the measure of deflection on the road. By making the road more stable, less friction between the tire and the road occurs, and the vehicle becomes more fuel-efficient. The other aspect is water consumption. Given the water shortage around the globe, using water to control dust is counter-productive. But there are hidden costs too: to spread the water that humidifies the dust, water trucks are required, which burn huge amounts of fuel. Therefore, we are not only reducing water consumption, but also fuel usage and greenhouse gas production.
What are the most recent developments at Cypher Environmental in light of the pandemic?
Cypher Environmental was labeled an essential business and we were able to keep our doors open during these months. From the beginning, we were methodical in sending our staff to work from home while also supporting our front-liners who work in production and labs. Since June, our entire team has been able to return to the office. Besides this, the company has been thriving, and we are excited about numerous upcoming projects with new mining clients.
Could you elaborate on Cypher’s ESG policy, and what milestones have been achieved in this regard?
Cypher Environmental launched a pioneering ESG policy which stipulates that 12% of our profits go to charities, while also donating 5% of the value of large mining contracts to their respective local communities. Our first major donation was through the US$2 million contract with Baffinland. We gave approximately 5% of the value to the nearby Pond Inlet community. Our ESG policy stems from a desire to make the world a better place, not just through addressing environmental problems, but also by becoming a trendsetter and encourage other companies to give back. Moreover, the ESG policy also has a business-development component, because it propels our company as one that stakeholders want to be associated with.
What can you tell us about the main markets for Cypher Environmental?
We currently see the Canadian market as the lowest-hanging fruit, a natural first choice, and our steppingstone for future growth, not least due to the traveling uncertainties pertaining to foreign markets. That being said, we are not ignoring our international markets and we have new opportunities with Anglo American in Chile, as well as a legacy of partnering with SMB (Société Minière de Boké) in Guinea. While traveling remains conditioned by developments outside our control, Cypher works with an extensive network of distributors around the world. And, thanks to digital solutions, work can also be done remotely, one of our workers having recently supervised the construction of a road in Zambia, from the Canadian HQ.
What are the main priorities for Cypher Environmental in the next few years?
At present, we are based in central Canada and therefore it is desired to move closer to not only our customers, but also ports needed to ship to our international clients. Hence, we are looking at multiple satellite manufacturing sites closer to the eastern and western ports for the future. West Africa is in focus not only due to its prominent mining industry but also because of its potential for infrastructure development.
Separately, our de-icer product, which is an environmentally friendly alternative to salt, is in the final development stages. Upon completing final studies, we will be announcing the official launch and I believe the product will make a significant difference.