What have been the highlights from the past two years?
The mining sector has been in a difficult situation in the last two years, both in Colombia and around the world. However, in our case, we created great strategic initiatives to grow in Colombia. Austin Ingenieros has only been in Colombia for five or six years; we are practically a new company in the mining engineering segment offering engineering customized services and solutions. Currently, we are in a great position as a non-OEM manufacturer and engineering solution provider. One of our priorities is to strengthen the values of the people we work with. The idea is to create a strong relationship with our clients; we want them to view us as more than just a company.
How important are Austin Ingenieros's Colombia operations to the overall group?
Currently, Colombia is the strongest and best-performing unit in South America for Austin Ingenieros and the second most important globally. Besides Colombia, we have operations in Chile and Peru, through which we are covering all of South America. In terms of revenue margins and financial numbers, the Colombian market ranks number two in the world. Austin Ingenieros can offer engineering services, manufacturing processes for different components, and site services such as maintenance. If we consider all of our products and services, we occupy more than 53% of the market in Colombia's coal mining sector.
What is your strategy to continue to increase your client's portfolio every year?
Austin Ingenieros has a unique business model, holding a market-leading position as a non-OEM producer of custom truck bodies and buckets, with strategic locations across four major mining continents including Australia, Asia, North America, and South America. The company provides a large and diversified product range for aboveground and underground mining operations that are customized to meet client requirements. Our new product development will continue to position us as the leader in mining truck bodies, buckets, and attachments within the industry. This will protect Austin Ingenieros's existing market share and provide further growth opportunities. Our R&D activities have produced lighter weight, high performance truck bodies, as well as innovative new bucket designs. In terms of safety standards, we strive to provide our workers with the best working environment. Our list of products is also extremely diverse; we are the leading designer and manufacturer of customized dump truck bodies, buckets, and ancillary products. Our core competitive strength is our engineering knowledge that provides compelling productivity gains for clients. What truly and rightly separates us from the competition is the ability to manufacture products at clients' operations located in key mining regions around the world.
What are your opinions about the government's plan for mining development?
Colombia is trying to open up the sector and create more investment opportunities. However, there are different barriers and more requirements in terms of environmental impact. Rather than giving licenses to large companies, the government is preferring smaller companies, whereas large companies have the potential to hire thousands of new employees in the region and improve the conditions of the area surrounding the mines. The government needs to take action in order to safeguard the interest of large mining companies in Colombia.
What are your main goals and priorities in 2018?
Our vision is to be the number-one mining services company in Colombia and the entire Caribbean region. To do that, we have to be able to offer the passion that we have for our projects and our work, create great leadership, and grow our business in Colombia. Currently, we have an advantage because all our clients know the Austin Ingenieros brand. We have great support from the corporate sector in Australia and are communicating and working diligently with it and our clients' head companies.