Anybody involved in the mining sector knows that it’s a difficult time for business. Commodity prices around the world have fallen, significantly affecting the bottom line profits of mining companies. As a result, countries that depend on mineral exports for economic growth have had to find new ways to thrive in these conditions.
Peru is one of those countries. It is one of the top ten richest mineral countries in the world, the third largest producer of copper and zinc, and a major producer of gold and silver. With mineral exports accounting for 60% of its shipments abroad, Peruvian companies need solutions to maintain their position in the global mining industry.
Ultimately, to stay relevant in today’s low commodity price reality, mining companies have to reduce their costs of operations. They need to use new technology that will help them save money now, and ensure a long-term sustainability of their business.
And Canada has the expertise to help in this regard. As the fourth largest concentrated cluster of mining companies in the world, Canada has a strong international reputation for mining goods and services, and is known for having strong capabilities in equipment and value chain.
Even with this expertise though, it can be challenging for Canadian mining companies, especially small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to get in direct contact with Peruvian buyers. A matchmaking session then, that links Canadian suppliers to Peruvian buyers that have already expressed a need for their product or service, can make all the difference.
This is what happened in Peru in late September. Export Development Canada (EDC), in collaboration with DFATD, the Canadian Association of Mining Equipment and Services for Export (CAMESE), the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM), the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP), and Export Quebec, facilitated a matchmaking program at Extemin – one of Latin America’s most prestigious mining events.
“At the event, Peruvian mining companies were actively seeking out innovative ways to increase production, reduce costs and improve margins. So Canadian companies, large or small, that could meaningfully impact their bottom line were really top of mind” reports Andrea Gaunt, Sector Advisor Mining at EDC.
In fact, EDC brought 36 Canadian suppliers with this specific kind of expertise. The mission resulted in 117 completed meetings, and uncovered huge opportunities for new business.
Cypher Environmental, a Winnipeg-based company offering sustainable soil stabilization solutions to reduce road maintenance costs, is one example of a promising match. “Matchmaking was huge for us in terms of opening doors to companies. We met with companies that we would not have otherwise connected with. As opposed to doing a ton of marketing or cold calling them to figure out a way to get a meeting, matchmaking helped us get them at our doorstep,” says Todd Burns, President Cypher Environmental.
Not only was matchmaking successful in giving the company a chance to promote its product, it also allowed it to achieve its goal. “As a whole, we hoped to gain more recognition for the solutions we offer. And at the end of the day, we are looking for sales and a bigger piece of the market share in Peru. We definitely got the exposure we were looking for, and sales look promising in both the short term and long term,” says Burns. While it’s too early to report final results from the matchmaking program, it is obvious that the potential is high. It’s no secret that doing business in a foreign market for the first time can be a challenge; but sometimes, all you need is a little help to find the right partner.