Nate Maguire is Xylem’s Americas Business Unit Director of Industry and Agriculture, Applied Water Systems unit. He recently sat down with MPT to share his thoughts on the coming trends for the mining industry and the increased need for greater efficiency. For a complete view of Xylem’s offering for the mining market and its Goulds Water Technology (GWT) brand, visit
MPT: What do you see as trends for 2016 in the mining industry?
Nate Maguire: The global mining industry is currently in a cyclical downturn, with commodity prices decreasing in double digits. Prices for gold, copper, iron ore, and other mined commodities are at very low levels, causing producers to defer major capital investments in new mines and large-scale mine expansions. Despite this, global demand for raw materials remains strong and mines are struggling to produce more without major capital outlays.
Equipment maintenance, repairs, and retrofitting are being favored over new equipment purchases because of these economic constraints. Xylem expects this trend to continue until the market climate improves.
MPT: How is Xylem responding to the cyclical downturn in the mining industry?
Nate Maguire: With lower commodity pricing and a sharp reduction in the industry’s capital expenditures, mines are striving to produce more to meet global demand. The industry is demanding reliable, quality products that keep downtime to a minimum and at competitive prices. Xylem is continuing research and development of new products that can be used in multiple mining applications, including boosting, dewatering, and transport.
At Xylem, we take a long-term view of the mining industry and are continuing to make investments in new products and systems despite the downturn.
MPT: What are some of the concerns you hear from your customers in the global mining industry?
Nate Maguire: Many companies are increasingly focused on their operating costs and margins and are looking very closely at what they pay for equipment. However, the price of the product is only a fraction of the total cost the mine will incur over the product life cycle. Additional expenses include maintenance and repair, energy, disposal costs, and decommissioning. Perhaps the most significant cost to consider is the cost of reliability, or downtime. Keeping downtime to the lowest levels possible is an important focus for mines.
Xylem has helped producers through mine audits to cover risk management, the ROI associated with upgrades or changes, and support planning for future capacity changes.
MPT: What effect can GWT pumps have on mining operations’ energy costs and production?
Nate Maguire: Our comprehensive portfolio covers a broad range of duty points with selections and models that bring our customers industry-leading efficiency. This positions mines to achieve the desired head and capacity, while saving money by operating at the most efficient point on the curve and manage water in sustainable ways. Xylem has developed pumps that expand efficiency ranges, called “Efficiency Islands.” When viewed on a pump curve, these Efficiency Islands maximize performance beyond best efficiency point (BEP).
Xylem estimates that incorrectly specifying pumps can cost 200 to 300 percent more in energy than the correctly specified product. We work with producers to help them select the optimal equipment for each job. Selecting proper equipment and having experts on hand for service support in mining applications helps reduce risk in catastrophic equipment failure and unplanned downtime, thus improving their bottom line. ◆
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